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N/Korea fires suspected submarine-launched ballistic missile

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The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on Wednesday said North Korea fired a presumed submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from waters off its east coast.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that the projectile was fired from the waters off the port city of Wonsan at 7:11 a.m (2211 GMT Tuesday) and flew around 450 kilometres in an easterly direction, according to the JCS.

Yonhap reported the body as saying that the projectile reached a maximum altitude of about 910 kilometres, saying that the missile could have travelled much further had it been fired at a lower angle.

The launch followed announcements by the U.S. and North Korea that they would hold fresh negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme within a week.

The U.S. State Department would not comment directly on the latest launch.

The U.S., meanwhile, carried out a quarterly test of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.

A Pentagon official said the test was pre-planned and was absolutely not a reaction to any event.

North Korea has in the past voiced anger over such tests.

The Japanese government, earlier said it believed that two ballistic missiles fell into the country’s territorial waters, off the western prefecture of Shimane.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga later confirmed at a press conference that it was one.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that “the launch of ballistic missiles violates UN Security Council resolutions.

“We sternly lodge a protest over the launch and strongly condemn it.

“We will do the utmost to protect the safety of the people and stay on high alert while coordinating with the U.S. and the international community.’’

Yonhap news also quoted the South Korean JCS as saying “our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture.’’

North Korea’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Hui said the talks with the U.S. would restart on Saturday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Un had agreed to working-level negotiations at a meeting on the inter-Korean border in June.

Trump has often stated that he remains satisfied with a situation in which North Korea does not fire long-range missiles and does not test new nuclear weapons.

HLM/AFA

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Felix Ajide

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