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North Korea fires unidentified projectile into the sea

North Korea fires unidentified projectile into the sea
People in Seoul watch the news as South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff on Monday said North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea between the peninsula and Japan. Photo by Jeon Heon-kyun/EPA-EFE

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- North Korea fired a short-range missile into the sea early Tuesday, South Korean military officials said.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectile was fired toward North Korea's eastern sea from an inland area at 6:40 a.m. local time, but did not specify if the projectile was a ballistic missile.

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"Our military is closely monitoring the related moves in coordination with the U.S. and maintaining a readiness posture in preparation for additional launches," the South Korean military said.

In a statement, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said that the missile did not pose an immediate threat to the United States or its allies but its launch "highlights the destabilizing impact of [North Korea's] illicit weapons program."

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Japan's defense ministry said that North Korea fired a "possible ballistic missile," but provided no further details.

The launch came as North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, addressed the U.N. General Assembly, calling for an end to the "U.S. hostile policy" toward North Korea and denouncing recently held annual joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

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"The successive U.S. administrations have repeatedly expressed their intentions, both in verbal and written forms, that they had no hostile intent toward the DPRK, advocating dialogue with us," Kim said. "But as can be seen in reality, all of those were nothing more than flowery words to cover up their hostile policy."

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Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, also said three days ago that North Korea could declare a formal end to the Korean War and discuss the possibility of a summit on conditions if Seoul and the United States were to halt the hostility.

Seoul convened an emergency meeting of its National Security Council on Tuesday morning and expressed "regret for the launch at a time when political stability on the Korean Peninsula is very critical," South Korea's presidential Blue House said.

President Moon Jae-in ordered a "comprehensive analysis" of the launch as well as the recent statements from Pyongyang, his office added.

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Earlier this month, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles that flew a distance of around 500 miles at a maximum altitude of 37 miles.

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