SEOUL – North Korea staged a new ballistic missile test, the South Korean army reported on Monday.
Pyongyang launched the projectile from Wonsan – in southeastern North Korea – at 5:39 am Monday morning in an easterly direction, out over the open ocean, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said, adding that the missile appeared to be a Scud-type.
The missile flew for 450 kilometers (about 280 miles) before presumably plunging into the ocean, Seoul said.
Both South Korean and US authorities are analyzing the data they gleaned after they detected the test.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called a meeting of the National Security Council for 7:30 am to discuss the latest missile test by the Pyongyang regime, the local Yonhap news agency said.
This was the ninth test of a ballistic missile so far this month, the most recent being on May 21, and the third such test since Moon became president.
The ongoing weapons tests by Pyongyang have markedly increased tensions in the region amid a bilateral war of words between the US administration of Donald Trump, which has suggested that it is studying the possibility of launching a preemptive strike on North Korea before it gains the expertise and wherewithal to launch ballistic missiles – possibly carrying nuclear warheads – at US territory or allies.
Experts feel that the latest North Korean missile tests are designed to test Moon’s new government after he came to power promising to improve relations with Pyongyang while maintaining the sanctions that are in place against Seoul’s northern neighbor.