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North Korea fires missile, Japan retracts take-cover warning


North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Thursday, South Korea and Japan said, prompting an alert for residents in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido to take cover.

Japanese authorities later retracted the alert, saying an emergency warning system had made an erroneous prediction the missile would fall near the island.

Japan’s coast guard said the projectile that appeared to be the missile had fallen in the sea to the east of North Korea.

The launch came days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for a strengthening of the country’s war deterrence in a “more practical and offensive” manner to counter what the country called moves of aggression by the United States.

The missile, suspected to be intermediate-range or longer, was fired at 7:23 a.m. (2223 GMT on Wednesday) from near Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The South Korean military said it was on high alert and maintaining readiness posture in close coordination with the U.S..

The missile fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported.

North Korea has criticized a recent series of joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea as escalating tensions, stepping up its weapons tests in recent months.

Related Galleries:

A North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

A TV screen displays a warning message called “J-alert” after the Japanese government issued an alert, following a ballistic missile launch by North Korea, at an office in Tokyo, Japan April 13, 2023, in this photo taken by Kyodo. The message reads: Japanese government warns citizens of the northernmost main island of Hokkaido to take immediate cover and stay inside buildings, saying a missile was likely to fall near the island. Mandatory credit Kyodo via REUTERS

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