North Korea fired ballistic missile, South Korean military says

North Korea fired a ballistic missile towards the Korean Peninsula’s east coast on Sunday Dec. 18, South Korea’s military said.

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North Korea fired a ballistic missile towards the sea off the Korean Peninsula’s east coast on Sunday, South Korea’s military said.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK said the North Korean-fired ballistic missile landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), citing unnamed government officials.

The North’s missile launch comes just days after the country tested a high-thrust solid-fuel engine that experts said would allow quicker and more mobile launch of ballistic missiles, as it seeks to develop a new strategic weapon and speed up its nuclear and missile programs.

The test, overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, was conducted on Thursday at North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Ground which has been used to test missile technologies, including rocket engines and space launch vehicles, the official KCNA news agency reported on Friday.

North Korea has conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, despite international bans and sanctions.

In November, North Korea test-fired an ICMB that Japanese officials said had sufficient range to reach the mainland of the United States and that landed just 200 kilometers (130 miles) off Japan.

Japan on Friday unveiled its biggest military build-up since World War Two with a $320 billion plan that will buy missiles capable of striking China and ready it for sustained conflict.

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