North Korea has fired an unidentified projectile into the sea off the Korean Peninsula.
According to South Korea’s military the launch, of what is believed to be a ballistic missile, came from the Sinpo region on North Korea’s east coast on Wednesday.
Here’s the Sinpo region in relation to the South Korean coast.
It comes after the North fired four ballistic missiles last month, three of which landed in waters that form part of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Those ballistic missiles were launched from North Pyongan province, close to North Korea’s border with China, and flew 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan off the east coast.
Before that Pyongyang tested an intermediate-range missile, the Pukguksong-2, on February 12 and also conducted nuclear tests last year. All tests are banned in North Korea by the UN Security Council.
The latest launch comes ahead of a summit meeting between US president Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping, in which Trump is expected to discuss how to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program.
This week Trump told the Financial Times, “China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t.”
He added: “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”
Business Insider’s Alex Lockie has suggested that perhaps the best shot Trump has at getting China to significantly budge on their policy is to convince them he’s a madman, capable of making the extremely dangerous and deadly action of striking North Korea with military force.
Trump’s comments echo US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s warning in March, in which he said a military response would be “on the table” if the North took action to threaten South Korean and US forces.
This week, a North Korean defector, who was formerly the country’s deputy ambassador to Britain, suggested that the North’s leader Kim Jong-Un would use nuclear weapons at the first sign of an imminent threat.
In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Thae Yong Ho, said that Kim is “desperate in maintaining his rule by relying on his [development of] nuclear weapons and ICBM” – missiles that could hit the US and Australia.
North Korea last month carried further tests of a rocket engine that US officials believe could be part of its program to develop the intercontinental ballistic missiles referred to by Thae.
Australia foreign minister Julie Bishop has spoken with US General Vincent K. Brooks, commander of UN and US forces in the country, about the new security risk posed by the North, and said the country’s technology is not so advanced when it came to ballistic missiles “that it was an increasing security risk not only to the Korean peninsula but also to our region, including Australia”.
“It is deeply concerning that North Korea has been able to take the opportunity to advance its capability,” she said. Read more on that here.
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