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North Korea fires first submarine-launched missile since 2016, officials say

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the test-fire of a ground-to-ground medium-to-long range strategic ballistic missile Pukguksong-2.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un flanked by military officials. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea on Wednesday fired at least 1 suspected submarine-launched ballistic missile, Yonhap news agency reports, citing the South Korean military's Joint Chiefs of Staff. U.S. officials later confirmed the missile launch.

Why it matters: The detected launch near the city of Wonsan on the eastern side of the Korean Peninsula at 7:11am Wednesday local time came hours after North Korea said Pyongyang and Washington would restart working-level denuclearization negotiations Saturday, per the Wall Street Journal, which reports the State Department confirmed the meetings.

  • The launch "appeared to be the first test of a North Korean missile capable of being fired from underwater in 4 years," CBS News reports.

Details: 1 missile traveled 280 miles and reached an altitude of some 565 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan, according to Yonhap. A Japanese government spokesman told reporters 1 of the missiles "landed inside its exclusive economic zone," The Guardian reports.

What they're saying: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the reported launch was in contravention of UN resolutions banning North Korea from launching short-range ballistic missiles, per the BBC.

  • U.S. Forces Korea said in a statement to Yonhap, "We are aware of reports of a possible North Korean missile launch. We are continuing to monitor the situation and consulting closely with our allies in the region."

The big picture: This is the 11th such launch since May, in what appears to be yet another demonstration of North Korea expanding its weapons arsenal apparently with the intention of increasing leverage ahead of possible negotiations with the U.S.

Go deeper: Ignoring North Korean missile tests could hamper nuclear talks

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.