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North Korea fires possible ballistic missile into sea amid stalled talks

People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korea's missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korea's missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

North Korea fires what appeared to be a ballistic missile into its eastern sea, its second launch in a week, following leader Kim Jong Un’s calls to expand its nuclear weapons program in defiance of international opposition.

The launches follow a series of weapons tests in 2021 that underscored how North Korea is continuing to expand its military capabilities during a self-imposed pandemic lockdown and deadlocked nuclear talks with the United States.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff say North Korea fired what likely was a ballistic missile from the area of its northern Jagang province. It says the weapon flew 700 kilometers (434 miles) at a maximum speed of around Mach 10 before landing in waters off its eastern coast, demonstrating a more advanced capability than North Korea’s launch last week.

Japan’s Defense Ministry says the suspected ballistic missile landed outside the country’s exclusive economic zone.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says officials are checking the safety of ships and aircraft around Japan, but there were no immediate reports of disruptions or damage.

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