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U.S., South Korea Say North Conducts New Missile Test

A recent missile launch by North Korea

North Korea has once again ratcheted up tensions on the Korean Peninsula, test launching what is believed to be a short-range ballistic missile.

The U.S., South Korean, and Japanese militaries on May 29 confirmed that the North had launched a projectile from the Wonsan Airfield that flew in an easterly direction.

The U.S. military's Pacific Command said it detected and tracked the launch, calling it a short-range ballistic missile. White House officials said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the launch.

"U.S. Pacific Command stands behind our ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan," it said in a statement, adding that the launch did not represent a threat to the United States.

The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the launch.

Japan said it strongly condemned the launch, saying it appeared to land in its territorial waters, although there were no reports of damage.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said his country was considering a "specific" response to the launch along with the United States and that he was in contact with South Korean leaders.

There was no immediate comment from North Korea's state-controlled media.

The North has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of ballistic missile launches over the past year and a half as it attempts to develop a rocket capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland.

Many experts say the North is still several years away from attaining that goal, although they say each test launch is a step in that direction.

The nuclear program and missile tests have been banned by the United Nations, but Pyongyang has said they are necessary to counter U.S. aggression.

With reporting by AP, dpa, and Reuters