North Korea fires suspected intermediate-range ballistic missile
SEOUL: (Reuters) North Korea fired a suspected intermediate-range ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast on Tuesday, according to South Korea’s military.

North Korea has tested similar technology before, as seen in this state media video of a test in 2023.

However, the South’s military says Tuesday’s launch appears to be related to a new, intermediate-range hypersonic missile powered by a solid-fuel engine that was fired from Pyongyang at around 7 am local time.

They said the missile flew about 372 miles before plunging into the sea.

Kim Jong Un oversaw a ground test of such an engine last month as state media says was shown in this footage.

Solid-fuel missiles do not need to be fuelled immediately ahead of launch - and are often easier and safer to operate. It could make these weapons harder to detect.

Tuesday’s test sparked condemnation from the leaders of both the South and Japan.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said Pyongyang will try to cause confusion as Seoul prepares for a major election later this month.

Japan’s leader Fumio Kishida said it disrupted the peace and stability of the region.

Both countries are US allies, and have recently expanded military cooperation with Washington as concerns grow that Russia is growing its own ties with Pyongyang.

Officials in the United States, South Korea and Ukraine have accused North Korea of providing weapons to Russia, including missiles, for use in the war in Ukraine.

Pyongyang and Moscow have denied the allegations.