North Korea fires suspected ballistic missile into waters

North Korea fires suspected ballistic missile into waters

North Korea launched a suspected ballistic missile toward its eastern waters on Wednesday, South Korean and Japanese officials said today, a few days after North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, pledged to bolster his nuclear arsenal at the fastest possible speed and threatened to use nuclear weapons against other countries.

The North's 14th round of weapons firing came six days before a new South Korean president takes office for a single five-year term.

South Korea's joint chiefs of staff said the launch was made off the North's eastern coast but gave no further details.

Japan s defence ministry said North Korea fired a possible ballistic missile, without providing further details.

North Korea slowed its pace in weapons testing this year, underscores its dual aim of advancing its missile programmes and applying pressure on Washington over a deepening freeze in nuclear negotiations, experts say.

There are signs that the North is preparing for a nuclear test at its remote north-eastern testing facility.

Kim showed off his most powerful missiles during a mass military parade in Pyongyang last week, where he pledged to develop his arsenal at the fastest possible pace and warned that the North would use its nuclear weapons if its national interests were threatened.