N Korea fires short-range missile to sea in latest test

Seoul: North Korea fired a short-range missile into the sea early Tuesday, its neighboring countries said, in the latest weapon tests by North Korea hat raised questions about the sincerity of its recent offer for talks with South Korea.

In an emergency National Security Council meeting, the South Korean government expressed regret over what it called a short-range missile launch by the North. South Korea's military earlier said the object fired from North Korea's mountainous northern Jagang province flew toward the North's eastern sea.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement the launch doesn't pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies. But it said the missile launch highlights the destabilising impact of (North Korea's) illicit weapons program and that the U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan remains ironclad. Details of the launch were being analyzed by South Korean and U.S. authorities. But Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said North Korea fired what could be a ballistic missile and that his government stepped up its vigilance and surveillance.

A ballistic missile launch would violate a U.N. Security Council ban on North Korean ballistic activities, but the council typically doesn't impose new sanctions on North Korea for launches of short-range weapons. Tests of ballistic and cruise missiles earlier this month were North Korea's first such launches in six months and displayed its ability to attack targets in South Korea and Japan, both key U.S. allies where a total of 80,000 American troops are stationed.

But last Friday and Saturday, Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, reached out to Seoul, saying her country was open to resuming talks and reconciliatory steps if conditions are met.

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