In a move that is sure to raise tensions in the region, North Korea has fired a ballistic missile off its east coast. The missile was launched early Wednesday morning, according to South Korean military officials.
The missile launch comes as the United States and South Korea prepare to conduct joint military drills in the region. North Korea has warned that the drills could lead to a nuclear confrontation.
The missile was launched from North Korea’s east coast and flew for about 450 miles before landing in the East Sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan. South Korea and Japan both confirmed the launch and said they were monitoring the situation.
In a statement, North Korea said the launch was part of a “routine test” and that it has the capability to launch a “fatal nuclear counterattack” if provoked.
The missile launch has been widely condemned by the international community. The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet later today to discuss the situation.
The latest missile launch is just the latest in a series of provocative moves by North Korea. The country has conducted several nuclear tests in recent years and has continued to develop its weapons program despite sanctions from the United Nations.
It remains to be seen how the international community will respond to the latest missile launch. In the meantime, the United States and South Korea are continuing with their joint military drills and are preparing for any potential confrontation with North Korea.