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North Korea fires missile into sea: South Korea

شعار Al Jazeera Al Jazeera 04/07/2017
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) [File: Reuters] © Provided by Al Jazeera North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) [File: Reuters]

North Korea launched a ballistic missile from its western region into the sea off its east coast on Tuesday, South Korea's military said, ahead of a summit of leaders from the Group of 20 countries in Germany later this week.

The missile was fired from a site near Banghyon in North Pyongan province, the South's military said in a statement, and came down in the East Sea, the Korean name for the Sea of Japan.

The missile flew for about 40 minutes and may have landed in Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Japanese government said, adding that it had strongly protested what was a clear violation of UN resolutions.

It wasn't immediately clear if this was a routine firing of a short-range missile or an attempt to perfect North Korea's longer range missiles.

The North's missile launch is the last since Pyongyang fired several cruise missiles in early June and comes ahead of the leaders of the United States, China, Japan and South Korea are expected to discuss efforts to rein in the North's nuclear and missile tests the G20 summit on July 7 to 8.

READ MORE: North Korea threat boosts bomb shelter sales in Japan

The incident also comes just days after Seoul's new leader Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump focused on the threat from Pyongyang in their first summit.

The launch is part of a string of test-firings in recent months as the North works to build a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the US.

Tuesday's launch is the first by the North since a June 8 test of a new type of cruise missile that Pyongyang says is capable of striking U.S. and South Korean warships "at will".

Since taking office on May 10, Moon has tried to improve strained ties with North Korea, but the North has continued its missile tests.

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