North Korea fired an apparent intermediate-range missile into the sea off the country's east coast. It comes as tensions run high in the region after Pyongyang's recent launches of an intercontinental ballistic missile and its first military spy satellite. 

Neighbouring countries including Japan and South Korea informed that they detected a possible ballistic missile launch by North Korea. South Korea's military said in a statement, that Seoul was running an analysis of the missile in coordination with Japan and the United States.
Japan's Defence Ministry criticized the launch as a violation of United Nations resolutions. It said the missile flew about 1,000 km with a maximum altitude of at least 50 km and appeared to have fallen outside Japan's exclusive economic zone. Pyongyang has stepped up pressure on

Seoul in recent weeks, declaring it the principal enemy, saying that North Korea will never reunite with the South and vowing to enhance its ability to deliver a nuclear strike on the US and America's allies in the Pacific.

North and South Korea remain technically at war because the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty. In November last year, North Korea said it successfully tested solid-fuel engines designed for intermediate-range ballistic missiles. 

In December it said it had tested its newest intercontinental ballistic missile to gauge the war readiness of its nuclear force against what it called mounting US hostility, as Washington and its allies began operating a real-time missile data-sharing system.

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