North Korea fired at least one ballistic missile from its eastern coast on Tuesday morning, according to South Korean and Japanese officials.
The launch took place in the port city of Sinpo, Hamgyong province, at about 10 a.m. local time Tuesday (9 p.m. ET Monday), South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. In a text to reporters, the JCS said it appeared to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the missile is estimated to have been fired from the sea, but has yet to confirm whether it was launched from a submarine. Sinpo is home to a North Korean naval shipyard.
Japan’s Deputy Secretary General Yoshihiko Isozaki said two ballistic missiles were estimated to be fired during Tuesday’s launch, while South Korea’s military only announced one projectile.
“North Korea’s latest actions threaten the peace and security of Japan and the region,” Isozaki said. “Furthermore, the continued ballistic missile launches pose a serious challenge not just for Japan but for the entire international community.”
Tuesday’s test was “extremely regrettable” and violated UN Security Council resolutions, Isozaki added.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan would “respond resolutely” to North Korea’s action in a tweet on Tuesday.
South Korea’s National Security Council (NSC) expressed “deep regret” over the launch, according to a text sent to reporters by the Presidential Office Blue House, adding it came while South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia were “actively” in discussions to achieve peace in the Korean Peninsula.
In a meeting held following the launch, NSC standing committee members called on North Korea to engage in dialogue, emphasizing the importance of stability in the region, the Blue House said.
The latest North Korean test follows months of seesawing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang has been testing a growing number of projectiles in 2021, including what it claimed was a new hypersonic missile in late September.
At the same time, relations have been warming between North and South Korea, with Pyongyang agreeing to reopen official communications with Seoul on October 4.
South and North Korea spoke on a joint-communication line at 9 a.m. local time Tuesday, prior to the reported missile launch, a South Korean Unification Ministry official said, but the North did not discuss the launch during the call.
Another call is scheduled for 5 p.m. local time Tuesday.
Clarification: This article has been updated to reflect that the missile is believed to have been fired from the sea.