SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — North Korea conducted an apparent missile test, South Korea and Japan reported Wednesday, just days after an end-of-year speech in which leader Kim Jong Un focused on domestic economic woes rather than military advancements.
North Korea fired at least one projectile toward the sea off its east coast early Wednesday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. Japan’s coast guard said the launch may have involved a ballistic missile.
No further details were available, including how many missiles were launched, how far they went or where they landed.
It is North Korea’s first weapons test since October 19, when it tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The North has frequently tested short-range ballistic missiles and other weapons since mid-2019, shortly after negotiations between Kim and former U.S. President Donald Trump broke down.
In his end-of-year speech last week, Kim gave few indications about North Korea’s foreign policy approach for the next year. Instead, Kim focused on how he plans to jump-start the country’s troubled economy, which has been battered by international sanctions, natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic.