SEOUL, South Korea –
South Korea’s military says North Korea has fired at least one ballistic missile toward its eastern seas.
The launch on Wednesday came as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was travelling in Russia for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin while there are international concerns about a potential arms deal that could fuel Moscow’s war efforts in Ukraine.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff didn’t immediately say how far the weapon flew. Japan’s Coast Guard, citing Tokyo’s Defense Ministry, said the missile likely has landed but still urged vessels around the Japanese coasts to watch out for falling objects.
Kim has been using the international distraction caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine to ramp up the North’s weapons development, a process that has included more than 100 missile launches since the start of 2022.
According to U.S. officials, Putin could use his meeting with Kim to secure more supplies of North Korean artillery and other ammunition to refill declining reserves and prolong his invasion of Ukraine. Experts say Kim in return could seek badly needed economic aid and sophisticated weapons technologies to advance his nuclear-weapons and missiles program.
AP writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed.