North Korea fires ballistic missile toward sea, South Korea’s military says

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North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its east coast on Friday, South Korea’s military said, the latest in its recent series of weapons tests. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff gave no further details like how far the weapon flew. North Korea in recent months has maintained an accelerated pace in weapons testing as it continues to expand its military capabilities while diplomacy with the United States and South Korea remained stalled.

Observers say North Korea likely believes an upgraded weapons arsenal would give it leverage to win greater concessions from the US if negotiations resume. Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised another test firing of a new multiple rocket launch system, according to the North’s state media.