North Korea launches missile into Sea of Japan

North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Wednesday from its east coast into the sea off the Peninsula, South Korea's military said, ahead of a summit between US and Chinese leaders who are set to discuss Pyongyang's arms programme.

The 60 kilometers is a relatively short flight compared with the distances that other North Korean missiles flew.

South Korea has successfully test-fired a home-developed ballistic missile with a range long enough to hit any part of North Korea, Yonhap news agency reported Thursday.

South Korea's foreign ministry also condemned the launch as a blunt challenge to a series of U.N. Security Council resolutions targeting North Korea's nuclear and missile program.

So North Korea may not have minded giving a fresh look of its capabilities ahead of the Trump-Xi summit while sticking to its own weapons development schedule, said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University.

CNN quoted the South Korean official as saying that the projectile was sacked from North Korea's Sinpo region in South Hamgyong Province.

North Korea rarely misses an opportunity to conduct a banned missile test to coincide with a high-profile world event that's expected to discuss the impoverished yet nuclear-armed country.

North Korean state media said the "Pukguksong-2" missile is a surface-to-surface missile that can carry nuclear warheads.

North Korea also often responds to U.S.

The North has fired missiles when South Korea hosted the 2010 Group of 20 summit and other events, and while top USA officials were traveling in the region.

A senior White House official on Tuesday said that the United States is considering all options on the table as the time for resolving the North Korean nuclear issue has now run out. Or was the launch just part of its broader missile development programs, with outsiders reading too much from a routine weapons test?

The JCS, however, dismissed the possibility that the missile was a submarine-based ballistic one, saying it was launched from land-based site.

Analysts says North might time nuclear and long-range rocket tests to the April 15 birthday of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the late grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.

Earlier, North Korea had warned the global community that it will retaliate if they put sanctions over its latest round of weapons tests.

But in 2012 it reached an agreement with the United States to nearly triple the range of its ballistic missile systems to guard against the North's nuclear threats, and has since been developing missiles with longer ranges.

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