North Korea is presumed to have fired yet another missile today just two weeks since it had conducted a series of provocative missile test launches toward the East Sea.
For more, we have defense ministry correspondent Kim Ji-yeon.
Ji-yeon, up until now, the South Korean military seems hesitant to release details about the recent launch compared to previous North Korean provocations, why?
As you mentioned, the South Korean military did not specify if the projectile is a ballistic missile and it has not released such details as the flight range and altitude.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea is presumed to have fired one short-range missile from its inland Jagang-do , Mupyong-ri area in an easterly direction at 6:40AM on Tuesday.
This area is where the North test-fired inter-continental ballistic missiles in 2017.
"The ministry is monitoring the situation as well as the motive behind North Korea's missile launch. The launch is regrettable since it was carried out during times when security stability on the Korean Peninsula is critical."
The governments of the U.S. and Japan said earlier on Tuesday that the launch has violated the UN Security Council resolutions which ban the North from firing ballistic missiles. This has led to speculation that the test-fire was a ballistic missile.
But there have been new revelations by analysts in South Korea that the projectile is a new type of strategic weapon designed to evade defense systems.
Sources have raised the possibility that it could be a part of initial tests of its hypersonic missiles specifically the hypersonic glide vehicle or HGV in which the flight vehicle of the missile's warhead separates at the missile's maximum altitude and heads downward in a glide maneuver.
"It's highly unlikely the recent launch is the North's modified version of Iskander-class ballistic missiles since there was one missile launched not two. Since there's only one missile fired, it's likely to be a new type of weapon. It's presumed to be the initial test phase of the HGV since North Korea had mentioned its development during the ruling Workers' Party Congress in January and since Tuesday's missile has the characteristics of both ballistic and cruise missiles."
The recent launch is seen as yet another provocation less than two weeks after the North test-fired long-range cruise missiles and modified versions of its KN-23 Iskander-class ballistic missile from a train.
This is also North Korea's sixth military provocation this year.
The timing of the launch is critical. There are experts who say the latest missile launch was likely meant to test how South Korea would respond as North Korea needs Seoul to persuade Washington to ease economic sanctions and make other concessions.
What are you hearing from your sources.
We'll have to wait and see if any message comes out of the North which have convened a parliamentary session of its rubber-stamp legislature today of the Supreme People's Assembly.
But the launch came three days after Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leadersaid that the North could declare a formal end to the Korean War as suggested by the South and even discuss the possibility of a summit on the condition that Seoul drops its double standards and hostile attitude toward the regime.
This comes as the North attempts to see whether South Korea will denounce the launch following the warning about the double standards of criticizing the North while others conduct weapons tests without such criticism.
Observers say it's a tactic used to sour inter-Korean relations in order to gain the upper hand in future negotiations and dramatically reconnect the two Koreas' direct communications line before making a conciliatory gesture when it sees that the timing is right which is when South Korea and the U.S. make some concessions.
"The North is dangling the option of declaring an end to the Korean War as Seoul suggested. The first test is to see if the South Korean government refrains from criticizing the North Korean missile test. There are going to be second, third and fourth tests waiting which are going to be much more difficult for South Korea to pull through."
The expert also said the initial goal of the North Korean regime is to shake the South Korea-U.S. alliance by first having the South Korean government depart from international condemnation of the regime.
Back to you.