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N Korea at crossroads

North Korea fires a short-range ballistic missile: South Korean military

Pyongyang blames Washington-Seoul armed exercises for growing tensions

A military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of North Korea's army is performed at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on Feb 8. (KCNA via Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) -- North Korea on Thursday fired a short-range ballistic missile toward the Yellow Sea, located between China and the Korean Peninsula, South Korea's military said.

The launch follows a statement on Tuesday by Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, that any move to shoot down one of North Korea's test missiles would be considered a declaration of war.

The missile was fired at about 6:20 p.m. (0920 GMT) from around the North Korean city of Nampo, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

On Tuesday, North Korea blamed a joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea for growing tensions, state media KCNA said.

The United States and South Korea will conduct large-scale military exercises known as the "Freedom Shield" drills starting next week.

"Since September 2022, North Korea has timed its missile launches and military demonstrations to counter U.S.-South Korea exercises probably to attempt to coerce the United States and South Korea to change their behaviour," U.S. intelligence agencies said in a threat assessment report on Wednesday.

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