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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that North Korea's military had fired a short-range missile toward its eastern sea, per AP.

Why it matters: North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations defended the latest launch in remarks to the UN General Assembly, demanding the U.S. and South Korea end their "hostile policy" against the country.

  • "If the U.S. wants to see the Korean War, the most prolonged and long-lasting war in the world, come to an end, and if it is really desirous of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula, it should take the first step towards giving up its hostile policy," said Pyongyang's UN envoy, Kim Song.
  • Pyongyang fired ballistic missiles as well as new long-range cruise missiles into the sea earlier this month, ratcheting up tensions in the region.

What they're saying: The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that it's aware of the missile launch and was "consulting closely" with allies, but noted that Pyongyang's action posed no immediate threat to any nation.

  • The missile launch "highlights the destabilizing impact" of North Korea's illicit weapons program, the statement added.
  • A U.S. State Department spokesperson said the Biden administration condemned the launch, which she noted was "in violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from the State Department, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and Kim.

Go deeper

Dec 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. sanctions people, entities linked to China, Myanmar and North Korea

President Biden delivers closing remarks during the virtual Summit for Democracy in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Dec. 10. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Friday announced new sanctions on dozens of people and entities with ties to human rights abuses in China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and North Korea.

Why it matters: The move, timed with international Human Rights Day and the State Department's two-day Summit for Democracy, is a tool "to draw attention to and promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses," the department said.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.

Fed: Rate hikes are near

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve is on track to raise its main target interest rate in mid-March, as Chair Jerome Powell pledged to be "humble and nimble" in adapting policy to a fast-changing economy.

Why it matters: Fed leaders are looking to choke off inflation by raising interest rates in the near future, but keeping its options open for how fast and far the effort will go.