North Korea fires ballistic missile with leader Kim away in Russia

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea fired at least one ballistic missile off its east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Japanese Coast Guard said on Wednesday, just hours before leader Kim Jong Un was expected to meet President Vladimir Putin in Russia.

No details on the size or range of the missile were immediately released. But, about five minutes after the launch warning, Japan’s Coast Guard reported the missile had fallen.

The nuclear-armed North has conducted regular launches of everything from short-range and cruise missiles to massive intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with the range to strike as far as the United States.

All of North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons activities are banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions that were last passed with the support of Pyongyang’s partners in China and Russia in 2017.

Since then, Beijing and Moscow have called for sanctions to be eased on the North to jumpstart diplomatic talks and improve the humanitarian situation.

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Tom Hogue and Christian Schmollinger)