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MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Sunday.
According to a statement by South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the missile was launched around 1:55 Moscow time, from Banghyeon in North Pyongan Province.
Its type and flight path are yet to be determined.
"The military is determining if the missile is the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile," the agency quoted a military source as saying. Musudan intermediate-range missiles can strike targets at the distance of about 3,000 kilometers.
The Japanese government confirmed the launch and said it was currently gathering all information, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported citing a government source.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga urgently arrived at the office of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is currently on a visit in the United States.
He said the rocket was launched from the western coast of North Korea and, apparently, fell in the Sea of Japan, outside Japan's exclusive economic zone
In his New Year address to the nation, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced that his country was preparing to test an intercontinental ballistic missile and reiterated that his country will continue to develop its nuclear deterrence potential. After that, leading North Korean media have confirmed ballistic missile launch plans on several occasions.
UN Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from holding ballistic missile tests, but Pyongyang refuses to recognize those documents, claiming that every country has the right to increase its defense potential amid Washington’s hostile foreign policy.
According to earlier media reports, North Korea has installed two unidentified missiles on mobile launchers in what appeared to be test-firing preparations.