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US Confirms: North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile

US Confirms: North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile

Pyongyang has already conducted nine ballistic missile tests so far this year, with the latest one occurring early Monday morning.

The North was likely showing its determination to push ahead with missile development in the face of global pressure to rein it in and "to pressure the (South Korean) government to change its policy on the North", South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said.

The statement did not indicate where the projectile landed, but a U.S. Pacific Command spokesman said the missile was tracked for six minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan. However, while no damage was caused, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe reportedly said that these provocations by North Korea is "absolutely unacceptable" and shows how the country is "ignoring repeated warnings from the worldwide society".

Kim found that the weapon system's ability to detect and track targets had "remarkably" improved and was more accurate, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

The statement said South Korean and United States experts are analysing the event for further detail.

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Japan's National Security Council chief Shotaro Yachi will meet Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi on Monday afternoon.

Three previous similar tests happened a week ago.

The test comes during a period of heightened tensions with North Korea.

But China, the North's main trade partner and ally, has made it clear that the push for diplomatic talks - not imposing more sanctions - was the priority.

North Korea, which has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the start of 2016 in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, says the programme is necessary to counter US aggression.

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The launch was immediately reported to President Moon Jae-in, who has called a meeting of the National Security Council, reported Reuters quoting the South Korean office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Abe said Japan will "take concrete steps with the order to deter North Korea", although he did not elaborate on specific actions.

Besides its regular ballistic missile test-launches, the North carried out two of its five nuclear tests a year ago - in January and September. In this regard, the North-Korean media reportedly gave out no comment. It could have been a test for a different type of engine.

On Tuesday, the United States will test an existing missile defence system to try to intercept an ICBM, the first such test, officials said last week.

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