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North Korea Launches Probable Ballistic Missile

SEOUL, south korea - North Korea conducted a missile launch Wednesday, reported Japan and South Korea, the latest in a series of tests that have upset its neighbors and drawn firm condemnation from the United States.

The North fired a possible ballistic missile, according to Japan's Coast Guard, which reported less than a half hour later that the missile had likely already fallen. Shorter flight times suggest a shorter-range launch.

In an alert to reporters, South Korea's military said the "unidentified projectile" was launched toward the sea off North Korea's east coast.

No other details were immediately available.

North Korea has ramped up missile tests this year, making significant progress on a weapons development wishlist laid out in 2021 by leader Kim Jong Un.

In March, North Korea launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017. It has warned it could soon launch a satellite into space. South Korean and U.S. officials warn the North could soon conduct its seventh nuclear test.

Although the United States and its allies have condemned the tests, China and Russia - two of North Korea's biggest backers - have largely looked the other way. Instead, China and Russia have pressured the United States to do more to restart nuclear talks that have not been held since 2019.

The United States has repeatedly said it is willing to re-enter negotiations without preconditions, but the North has either rejected or ignored those invitations.