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In its latest test, North Korea launches a short-range missile at sea

The South Korean government expressed its regret at the "short-range missile launch" of the North during an emergency meeting of the National Security Council. South Korea's military had earlier stated that the North Korean object from the mountainous north Jagang province was launched toward the waters off North Korea's eastern coast.

In a statement, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command stated that the launch didn't present an immediate threat to U.S. personnel, territory or allies. It said that the missile launch "highlights (North Korea's illicit weapons program) destabilizing effect" and that the U.S. commitment "remains unaffected."

South Korean and U.S. authorities were analyzing details of the launch. Yoshihide, the Japanese Prime Minister, said that North Korea launched "what could have been a ballistic missile" but that his government had increased its surveillance and vigilance.

A ballistic missile launch would be a violation of a U.N. Security Council ban against North Korean ballistic activities. However, the council doesn't usually impose any new sanctions on North Korea for short-range weapons launches.

North Korea tested its first ballistic and cruise missile launches in six months earlier this month. It also demonstrated its ability to strike targets in South Korea, Japan and other key allies.

Kim Yo Jong (the influential sister to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) reached out to Seoul last Friday and Saturday to say that her country is open to talks and reconciliation steps, provided certain conditions are met. Experts believe that North Korea wants South Korea working to lift its sanctions.

South Korea called her statement "meaningful", but asked North Korea to restore communication channels so that talks between the two countries can be organized.

Since the last 15 months, communication lines have been largely inactive. Restoring them could serve as a gauge of how serious North Korea is about conditional talks. Seoul's Unification Ministry stated Tuesday that North Korea is still not responsive to South Korea's efforts to communicate via the channels.

On Tuesday, North Korea's third round of missile tests this month detected the North's launch. Kim Song, North Korean Ambassador, used his speech at the U.N. General Assembly's last day to justify his country's creation of a "war-deterrent" to protect against U.S. threats.

Kim stated that the U.S. is not allowing a new war to break out on the Korean Peninsula. Instead, the state has been building a reliable deterrent capable of controlling hostile forces during a military invasion. DPRK is North Korea's official title, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea's latest outreach was in response to South Korean President Moon Jaein's renewed calls to declare the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. This is a move to promote peace on South Korea's Korean Peninsula. Seoul officials call such a declaration a "political and symbolic" step, as it requires a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War.

One million to two million people were killed in the three-year conflict between South Korea and U.S. forces at U.N. against North Korea and China. Moon suggested that the U.S. and China sign an end-of-war declaration in his speech to the U.N. last Wednesday.

Moon's office reported that after Tuesday's North launch, Moon instructed officials to thoroughly examine the North's latest weapons firings and its previous outreach before formulating countermeasures.

Two and a half years have passed since the U.S. led diplomatic effort to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for economic and political gains. Although U.S. officials expressed hope for more talks, they also stated that the sanctions placed on North Korea over the long-term will remain in effect until North Korea takes concrete steps towards denuclearization.

Kim Jong Un has remained adamant about not testing long-range weapons, despite North Korea having tested them and vowing to build its nuclear arsenal. This is a sign that he wants to preserve the prospects for future diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea.

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