(Update 1: Rewrites lede, adds Japan details)
Seoul/Tokyo, Jan 5 (EFE).- North Korea launched a projectile into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday, which the governments of South Korea and Japan suspect to be a ballistic missile.
Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff initially reported that the North had launched an “unidentified projectile” and minutes later sent a statement stating that “North Korea fired a projectile presumed to be a ballistic missile from inland to the East Sea (Sea of Japan) at around 08:10 today.”
The text added that the military is “maintaining a readiness posture” and closely monitoring the situation in cooperation with the United States.
In Japan, where the government held an emergency meeting of its response team, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters that it was presumed the projectile “landed outside our country’s exclusive economic zone.”
“What appeared to be a ballistic missile was launched from an inland (area in) North Korea toward the east,” he added, according to Kyodo news.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that it was regrettable that North Korea has repeatedly launched missiles since last year and that the government will now gather information in order to inform the public.
United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibit the development and use of ballistic missile technology by the North Korean regime.
It is the first projectile fired by North Korea, which is technically still at war with the South since the conflict ended in 1953 with a ceasefire, since it fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile in October.
Pyongyang launching a missile test in January is unusual, since at this time the North Korean People’s Army carries out winter maneuvers. EFE