North Korea fired what is presumed to be a single ballistic missile into waters off the east of the Korean Peninsula on Saturday, according to South Koreaâ€™s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the countryâ€™s ninth such test of the year.
â€œThe South Korean military is maintaining a readiness posture by monitoring related movements in preparation for additional launches,â€ the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
The missile was launched from the Sunan area near the capital Pyongyang, said the statement.
Japanâ€™s Coast Guard alerted its vessels, saying â€œpossible ballistic missile(s) has been launched from North Korea.â€
â€œWe advise vessels are to pay attention to further information, and if they observe any falling objects, do not approach and report relevant information to the Japan Coast Guard,â€ it said.
South Koreaâ€™s National Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Saturday morning, South Koreaâ€™s Presidential Office said in a statement.
International tension has been rising over a recent series of North Korean ballistic missile tests, actions long banned by the United Nations Security Council.
This marks North Koreaâ€™s ninth missile test in 2022. January saw a record number of such tests, with at least seven launches during the month including a new type of â€œhypersonic missileâ€ able to maneuver at high speed.
Analysts suggest the increased testing this year shows Kim is both striving to meet domestic goals and show an increasingly turbulent world that Pyongyang remains a player in the struggle for power and influence.
Saturdayâ€™s launch comes just days before the South Korea presidential election on March 9, in which North Korea is likely to be a key electoral issue.