The South Korean military reported North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its east coast on Wednesday, only days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country should focus on improving food production while retaining its military capability in the new year.

The South Korean military said its experts and US officials were reviewing the North Korean missile's trajectory and other flight data to learn more. On October 19, North Korea tested a newly built submarine-launched ballistic missile off its east coast, in defiance of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council prohibit the country from producing or testing ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons, NY Times reported.

North Korea has fired ballistic missile

The North's official Korean Central News Agency confirmed on Thursday that the weapon tested the day before was a hypersonic missile. In September, the North conducted its maiden test of the new missile. According to the news agency, the missile hit a target 435 kilometers distant during the test on Wednesday.

Following the launch, South Korean President Moon Jae-in's administration reiterated his plea for engagement with North Korea, adding that the latest missile test occurred at a time when the region couldn't afford instability. The Winter Olympics will be held in China in February while South Korea's presidential election will be held on March 9.

Moon was in attendance at a groundbreaking ceremony on the east coast on Wednesday, where engineers began work on extending the South's rail line by 69 miles to the inter-Korean border.

The National Security Council of South Korea called an emergency meeting, saying the launch "occurred at a critical time for domestic and external stability" and urging Pyongyang to begin disarmament discussions. The launch occurred only hours before South Korean President Moon Jae-in attended the launching ceremony of a new rail line that he hopes would one day unite the Korean peninsula. As of this writing, the suspected North Korean missile has not been identified, as per National Interest.

Some observers had anticipated Pyongyang to desist from overt military provocations so close to the February Winter Olympics in Beijing to avoid causing excessive diplomatic anxiety for its Chinese benefactor.

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India, Japan, and South Korea join for Sea Dragon exercise

Meanwhile, India and its Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) allies, Canada and South Korea, are taking part in the multinational exercise Sea Dragon in the Western Pacific near Guam.

The exercise will include more than 270 hours of in-flight training and operations ranging from monitoring simulated targets to tracking a US Navy submarine. It will be largely focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training. Each event will be rated, and the country with the greatest overall score will be awarded the Dragon Belt.

The Indian Navy, the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force, and the South Korean Navy are all participating in the exercise, which is being hosted at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

Per Hindustan Times, the US Navy's P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft are taking part in the exercise. The US Pacific Fleet stated in a statement that during classroom training sessions, pilots and flight officers from various countries will construct plans and debate strategies including their country' capabilities and equipment.

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