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N Korea at crossroads

North Korea fires ballistic missile, South Korea says

Launch comes as the United States and South Korea conduct major military drills

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the 7th enlarged plenary meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 1, 2023.   © Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) -- North Korea has fired a ballistic missile off its east coast, South Korea's military said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of weapons tests as the South and the United States conduct their largest joint military drills in years.

Other details, including the missile's flight range, were not immediately available.

The launch comes two days after North Korea test-fired two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine, and as the United States and South Korea conduct major military drills to counter the North's growing threats.

South Korean and American forces began 11 days of joint drills, dubbed "Freedom Shield 23," on Monday which will be held on a scale not seen since 2017.

North Korea has long bristled at the allies' drills as a rehearsal for invasion.

On Sunday, North Korea said it has decided to take "important practical" war deterrence measures, adding "war provocations of the U.S. and South Korea are reaching the red-line."

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