SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the waters off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korean officials said, in a continuation of its weapons launches made as the country is angrily reacting to annual military drills between U.S. and South Korean troops.
The missile fired from the North’s eastern coastal town of Sinpo on Wednesday morning flew about 60 kilometers (37 miles), Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. It gave no further details like exactly what type of missile the North launched.
The 60 kilometers is a relatively short flight compared with the distances that other North Korean missiles flew. Two weeks ago, the South Korean and U.S. militaries said they detected what they called a failed North Korean ballistic missile launch. But earlier in March, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), with three of them landing in waters that Japan claims as its exclusive economic zone.
The firing was made as South Korean and U.S. troops were conducting their springtime drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal. The allies say the drills set to run until the end of this month are defensive in nature.
North Korea often responds to the drills with its own military training and harsh rhetoric.
North Korea is pushing hard to upgrade its weapons systems to cope with what it calls U.S. hostility. Many weapons experts say the North could have a functioning nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the continental U.S. within a few years. North Korea carried out two nuclear tests last year.
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