North Korea has conducted its latest ballistic missile test, firing a projectile into the sea just off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, according to reports.
“Our assessment is that it is part of a show of force in response to the new U.S. administration’s hardline position against the North,” the office of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement reported by Reuters.
It is the first such test by the isolated nation since President Trump took office Jan. 20.
Military officials in South Korea and the U.S. were working to determine what kind of missile was launched, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said last month that the isolated nation was close to test launching another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The latest missile, however, was likely not an ICBM, Yonhap reported.
The missile launch comes as Trump hosts Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the weekend in the U.S. During a joint press conference on Friday, Trump said defending Japan was a “very, very high priority.”
On a visit to South Korea last week, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said that any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an “effective and overwhelming” response.
He also reconfirmed plans to deploy a US missile defence system in South Korea later this year.
North Korea conducted its fifth test of a nuclear device last year, and claims it is capable of carrying out a nuclear attack on the US, though experts are still unconvinced that its technology has progressed that far.
It has also said in recent weeks that it has a new intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of reaching the US mainland, which it is prepared to test launch at any time.