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N Korea launched ballistic missile towards East Sea, says South Korea military

Seoul: In its first missile launch of the year, North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile towards the East Sea on Sunday, according to the South Korean military, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed it had learned about the launch, but they did not elaborate much on the matter.
Following the ballistic missile launch, the prime minister's office of Japan called it an emergency alert and stated that more details are awaited on the same.
"[Emergency alert] North Korea has launched a suspected ballistic missile. More updates to follow," the PMO of Japan wrote in a post on X.
However, South Korea's Defence Minister Shin Won-Sik said last week that Pyongyang may test-fire solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missiles as early as this month, according to Yonhap News.
On December 18, the North fired the last Hwasong-18 solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile into the East Sea on a lofted trajectory.
The most recent launch coincides with already elevated tensions following North Korea's artillery shelling along the Yellow Sea maritime boundary on January 5-7.
As he toured important munitions factories last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared that he had no intention of staying out of the battle with South Korea and vowed to destroy the latter if it tried to use force against Pyongyang, Yonhap News reported.
Meanwhile, South Korean officials have claimed that provocative actions by the North are expected to be staged early in the year to heighten tensions before the country's general elections in April.

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