N. Korea fires ballistic missile

MOSCOW -- North Korea has test fired a ballistic missile, the Yonhap News Agency reports, citing South Korean military sources.

The missile was fired in the direction of the Sea of Japan at around 7:55 am February 12, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was fired from Banghyeon in North Pyongan Province; the flight path has not yet been determined.

"The military is determining if the missile is the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile," a military source told Yonhap. The Musudan missile's range is estimated at about 3,000 kilometers. Based on the missile's launch site, North Korea experts speculate that it is the Musudan and not a longer-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The test had been expected for some time, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un reportedly having announced a test in his New Year's Eve address to the nation. It was also suggested that the country might test an ICBM this month to mark former leader Kim Jong-il's birthday, or that it would test a medium-range weapon.

It is unknown what type of missile was fired.

US President Donald Trump has taken a belligerent stance on North Korea. In response to reports that the country was in the final stages of developing a missile that could reach the US at the turn of the year, he tweeted, "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the US. It won't happen!"

Last month, the US provided USD1 million in flood relief to the rogue nuclear state after flooding and typhoon damage killed hundreds and left thousands homeless. It was the first such aid to have been provided in five years.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests since 2006. The country claims to be capable of conducting a nuclear strike on the US.

Just last week, US military authorities expressed concern that the country could not handle an escalation of tensions with North Korea without withdrawing from some of its other global commitments.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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