North Korea fires 'unidentified projectile' in third suspected test of the year

North Korea has fired an unidentified projectile eastward, South Korean and Japanese officials said Friday, the nuclear-armed country's third suspected weapons test in just over a week, News.Az reports citing AFP.

The new suspected test comes after the United States imposed new sanctions this week, prompting Pyongyang to vow never to give up its "right to self defence".

"North Korea fires unidentified projectile eastward," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday without giving further details.

Japan's coast guard said it had detected "the launch from North Korea of what appears to be a ballistic missile or missiles at 14h55". (0555 GMT)

A coast guard spokesman told AFP it was still analysing where it fell and whether it was one object or multiple.

Despite biting international sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme, Pyongyang tested what it said were hypersonic missiles on January 5 and January 11.

After the second test, which was personally supervised by leader Kim Jong Un, the United States imposed additional sanctions on five people linked to North Korea's ballistic weapons programme.

The move prompted accusations from a foreign ministry spokesman in Pyongyang that the United States was "intentionally escalating" the situation.

If "the US adopts such a confrontational stance, the DPRK will be forced to take stronger and certain reaction to it," the spokesman said in comments carried by state news agency KCNA earlier on Friday.

It is North Korea's "legitimate right" to develop new weapons as part of its drive for "modernizing its national defence capability," the spokesman said.


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