North Korea has fired what is suspected to be a ballistic missile into sea while the eyes of the rest of the world are focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine.
The coast guard said that the missile probably landed in the sea.
Vessels in the area were told to stay away from objects that may have fallen from the air and were also told to report any sightings to authorities.
If confirmed, it would be the country’s first test since January and its eighth round of weapons tests this year.
North Korea’s last test was on 30 January, when it fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missile – the largest weapon fired since 2017.North Korea did not test any missiles during the Beijing Olympics in February, but some analysts predicted the country would resume tests after the games, possibly using larger weapons.
China – the host of the Olympics – is one of North Korea’s last allies.
Talks over North Korea’s nuclear disarmament have been stalled since Donald Trump’s second meeting with Kim Jong Un in 2019, when the then US president rejected a request for major sanctions relief.
Kim Jong Un has so far rejected the Biden administration’s push for dialogue, demanding Washington’s “hostile” policies are dropped first.
North Korea’s ballistic missile launches are banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions, which have imposed sanctions on the country over its missile and nuclear weapons programmes.