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(4th LD) N. Korea fires ballistic missile: S. Korea

2017/04/05 08:50

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with U.S. military's confirmation, other details; ADDS photo)

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea launched a ballistic missile Wednesday into the East Sea, South Korea's military said, just two days ahead of summit talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

"North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the East Sea from a site in the vicinity of Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province, at around 6:42 a.m.," the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

The projectile flew about 60 kilometers, and South Korea and the United States are analyzing additional information, it added, with the exact type of the projectile not confirmed yet.

The U.S. Pacific Command said the projectile seems to be a KN-15 medium-range

ballistic missile, also known as Pukguksong-2, fired from a land-based facility.

The South's presidential office convened an emergency National Security Council (NSC) meeting to discuss the provocation, presided over by Kim Kwan-jin, the national security adviser to Acting President Hwang Kyo-han.

Hwang ordered the nation's troops to strengthen their combat readiness in case of a contingency.

An undated image provided by Yonhap News TV of a North Korean missile launch. (Yonhap) An undated image provided by Yonhap News TV of a North Korean missile launch. (Yonhap)

The North's move came as Trump plans to host the Chinese president in his Florida estate on Thursday and Friday (local time) for their first summit. The North Korea issue will likely be among top agenda items.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Trump warned that the U.S will take unilateral action to get rid of the North's military threats unless China does its part.

Two weeks ago, the North test-fired a missile, which ended in failure.

Earlier in March, the North fired four ballistic missiles, three of which fell into the sea near Japan. In February, it blasted a Pukguksong-2 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) from a mobile launcher.

The Kim Jong-un regime conducted two nuclear tests and fired two dozen missiles last year.

Concern has grown that it may carry out another nuclear test or long-range rocket launch.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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