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North Korea fired a missile into the Sea of Japan Monday morning, days after the U.S. engaged in what the North regards as provocative military drills with its southern neighbor. 

Japan’s Defense Ministry said it detected a missile launch by North Korea, and the Japanese coast guard said a suspected North Korean missile landed in the ocean.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff also confirmed a missile launch, but did not give additional details, such as how far the weapon flew.

Later, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the North had launched several more short-range ballistic missiles from North Hwanghae Province. 

Sunday marked the North’s first known missile tests since it carried out cruise missile launches in mid-February.

NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS EXPOSE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS TO UNITED NATIONS, ASK FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION

During the South Korea-U.S. military drills that ended Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided a series of military training exercises involving tanks, artillery guns and paratroopers. But the North didn’t perform any missile tests during its rivals’ training.

TV shows North Korean missile launch

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula remain high in the wake of North Korea’s barrage of missile tests since 2022. Many of the tests involved nuclear-capable missiles designed to attack South Korea and the mainland U.S. The U.S. and South Korean forces have responded by expanding their training exercises.

Experts say North Korea likely believes a bigger weapons arsenal would increase its leverage in future diplomacy with the United States. They say North Korea would want to win extensive sanctions relief while maintaining its nuclear weapons.

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