North Korea fires Scud-class ballistic missile into sea in latest provocation

The missile, said to be a Scud-type projectile, was launched from an airfield near Wonsan, a city on North Korea's east coast, according to the US Pacific Command and South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

The missile was sacked from North Korea's eastern coastal city of Wonsan around 5:40 a.m. and flew around 400 kilometers, the top government spokesman said, adding there were no reports of damage to aircraft or ships in the area.

North Korea, which has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the start of 2016 in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, says the programme is necessary to counter U.S. aggression.

Michael Penn, president of the Tokyo-based Shingetsu news agency, told Al Jazeera that North Korea's latest missile test was part of an effort to strengthen its military against any possible threats from the U.S.

Moon says sanctions alone have failed to resolve the growing threat from the North's advancing nuclear and missile programme. The North Korean regime under Kim Jong Un has continued to test short and long-range missiles defying global pressure to stand down including one from its closest partner, China.

Moon called a National Security Council meeting Monday morning to discuss the North's launch.

North Korea has fired what appears to be a ballistic missile towards Japan.

Three top officials accompanied the leader for the launch - including a veteran rocket scientist, a former air force general and the head of the blacklisted agency which is believed to be developing North Korea's missiles and nuclear weapons.

In the 2018 budget the White House offered to Congress earlier this week, the Pentagon proposed spending $7.9 billion on missile defense.

Korotchenko added that even an unsuccessful missile launch contributes to the overall development of the North Korean missile program.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that a war with North Korea would be "catastrophic". "In order to deter North Korea, we will take concrete action together with the United States", he told CNN.

Pyongyang cites the threat emanating from the United States which retains more than 28,000 troops in South Korea, periodically deploying strategic weapons for training there and refusing to conclude a peace treaty with North Korea.

Moscow urged the global community to be cautious in taking further action after North Korea's missile launches.

The short-range ballistic missile that North Korea fired on Monday was assumed to be a Scud series missile that was originally designed by the Soviet and then developed into a weapon by Nazis.

Since 2008, photographer Eric Lafforgue ventured to North Korea six times.

It comes as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un supervised the test of a new anti-aircraft weapon system and has ordered its mass production and deployment throughout the country.

Suga, the Japanese cabinet secretary, said the missile fell about 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of the Oki islands in southwestern Japan and 500 kilometers (310 miles) west of Sado island in central Japan.

  • Leroy Wright