North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea into the sea on Wednesday.
The missile was launched from Sinpo, a port city on the North's east coast, and it flew about 60 kilometers (40 miles), South Korea's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
The move comes a day before the summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The leaders are expected to discuss North Korea, but meanwhile Rex W. Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State issued a statement saying:
“North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”
Earlier this year, Tillerson spoke about North Korea with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in China on Saturday, saying that the two discussed the importance of safeguarding stability and security in Northeast Asia with a sense of urgency.
North Korea conducted a test of a newly developed high-thrust engine this month, with leader Kim Jong Un saying the successful test was "a new birth" for its rocket industry. The engine is believed to be able to help the country achieve world-class satellite launch capability, indicating the test was likely of a new type of rocket engine for long-range missiles.
North Korea has already conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches and is believed to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that can reach the U.S.
The launches are in contravention of U.N. resolutions and have prompted the U.S. and South Korea to agree to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile battery in South Korea later this year.
Additionally, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Japan’s Ministry of Defense successfully tested the first intercept of a ballistic missile using Raytheon’s latest technology, the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA on February 3.
The SM-3 Block IIA is being developed cooperatively by the United States and Japan to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
China has called on the U.S. and Japan to show great care, as the technology has some experts saying that it will break the global strategic balance and trigger an arms race.