North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile at sea on its east coast on Wednesday, according to the South Korean military.

The joint Seoul Chiefs of Staff said the missile was launched at 15:31 local time from the western city of Sukchon and reached an altitude of about 30 miles and traveled 150 to 180 miles east into the water.

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs held talks with Japanese and American counterparts about the situation and warned that North Korea could step up to the first nuclear test since 2017. Satellite images showed activity at a possible test site.

North Korea launched dozens of missiles last week in response to joint US-South Korean air force exercises involving more than 200 aircraft, including b*mbers and fighters.

The North Korean military said the take-offs – which triggered anti-aircraft sirens below the 38th parallel – simulated att*cks on US and South Korean targets such as bases. One of the missiles fell below the inter-Korean sea border, which North Korea does not recognize, according to military figures.

The rescued debris was presented to the media at a press conference in Seoul.

Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada condemned Wednesday’s premiere, saying it threatened “the peace and security of our country, region and the international community.”

With News Wire services

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