North Korea launches ballistic missile toward sea, South Korea says

North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward the sea on Thursday, South Korea’s military said, days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to enhance his nuclear arsenal in more “practical and offensive” ways.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the launch was made on Thursday morning but gave no further details, such as how far the missile flew and exactly what weapon the North fired.

It’s the latest in a barrage of missile launches that North Korea has performed this year to protest South Korean-U.S. military drills that it views as a rehearsal for an invasion.

During a military meeting Monday, Kim reviewed the country’s frontline attack plans and various combat documents and stressed the need to bolster his nuclear deterrent with “increasing speed on a more practical and offensive” manner, according to North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.

KCNA said that the meeting discussed unspecified issues related to strengthening defense capacities and perfecting war preparations to counter the threat posed by its rivals’ military drills.

North Korea has long argued that U.S.-led military exercises in the region are proof of Washington’s hostility against Pyongyang. The North has said it was compelled to develop nuclear weapons to deal with U.S. military threats, though U.S. and South Korean officials have steadfastly said they have no intention of invading the North.

There are concerns that North Korea could conduct its first nuclear test in more than five years since it unveiled a new type of nuclear warhead earlier this month. Foreign experts debate whether North Korea has developed warheads small and light enough to fit on missiles.


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