North Korea fired another long-range ballistic missile on the morning of August 24, just days before the South Korea-Japan summit, according to South Korean defense officials.
The missile, which appears to be a modified version of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, was launched from the Sino-ri region in North Korea's western Pyongan Province. It flew approximately 600 miles eastward before crashing into the Sea of Japan.
This latest test comes as South Korea and Japan prepare to meet for their first-ever summit on August 27. The two countries have long been at odds over Japan's colonial rule of Korea in the early 20th century, and the meeting is seen as a major step towards improving the strained relationship between the two nations.
The launch is also being seen as a sign of North Korea's continued commitment to its nuclear program. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has recently shown a willingness to improve relations with the outside world, but has refused to give up his nuclear ambitions.
South Korea and Japan have both condemned the launch and are urging North Korea to give up its nuclear program. In a statement released after the launch, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said, “We urge North Korea to immediately stop such provocative acts and return to negotiations for denuclearization”.
The U.S. is also watching the situation closely. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that the missile launch was “not a good situation”. He added that the U.S. was “working with Japan and South Korea” to address the issue.
The missile test is likely to be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming South Korea-Japan summit. It could also have a major impact on the stalled negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea.