Amid fears of another Pyongyang nuclear test, North Korea fired an “unidentified” ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan, the South Korean military said on Friday.
The firing followed a meeting between the vice foreign ministers of the US, Japan and South Korea, which pledged to strengthen their deterrence in the region. “We have agreed to further strengthen cooperation (…) so that North Korea immediately ends its illegal activities and resumes denuclearization talks,” South Korean Cho Hyun-dong said. “The three countries agreed that if North Korea conducts its seventh nuclear test, an unprecedentedly strong response is needed.”
read more: North Korea has continued its tests by launching two long-range missiles
Seoul and Washington have repeatedly warned that Pyongyang could be on the verge of conducting another nuclear test, the first since 2017, after a series of missile launches in recent weeks.
A missile was fired over Japan last month and North Korea has separately said it has conducted tactical nuclear drills. On Tuesday, North Korea fired 250 rounds, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
the world “Holds breath»
Rafael Croce, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), worried on Thursday that the world is “holding its breath” ahead of a new North Korean nuclear test, a “new confirmation” that Pyongyang’s nuclear program is “moving full speed in an incredibly worrying direction”.
“Obviously, the new test means they’re fine-tuning their arsenal preparation and build-up. So we’re following this very closely,” he said. “We’re hoping that won’t happen, but unfortunately the signs point the other way.”
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