North Korea has fired a ballistic missile into the sea, said South Korea’s defence minister.
The launch was first reported by the Japanese coast guard early on Wednesday, before being confirmed by defence authorities in Seoul later.
The UN prohibits North Korea from ballistic and nuclear weapons tests.
This is the first missile launch by Pyongyang after leader Kim Jong-Un pledged to bolster the country’s defence capabilities last month. In a statement, Seoul’s Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) said: “South Korean and US intelligence are closely analysing for further detail”.
Japan’s defence minister Nobuo Kishi said the ballistic missile had flown about 500km.
According to one expert however, there was no way to confirm the full striking range of the missile.
“There’s no way to assess whether this might have been a longer-range missile flown on a shortened trajectory,” said Ankit Panda of the Nuclear Policy Programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.