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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other officials watch a ballistic missile launch in this undated photo from the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other officials watch a ballistic missile launch in this undated photo from the state-run Korean Central News Agency. (KCNA)

North Korea launched what appeared to be a ballistic missile off its eastern coast, South Korean military officials announced Tuesday morning.

The projectile reached speeds of Mach 10, or 10 times the speed of sound, and was “more advanced” than a so-called “hypersonic” missile the North launched Jan. 5, the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a news release Tuesday.

Tuesday’s launch occurred at 7:27 a.m. inside North Korea, according to a text message to reporters from the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Our troops are maintaining their readiness posture and monitoring relevant moves thoroughly under close cooperation between [South Korea] and the U.S. in preparation for an additional launch,” the message said.

The missile reached a peak altitude of 37 miles and flew over 435 miles, according to the Defense Ministry.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense in a press release also estimated the missile traveled about 435 miles and landed outside of the country’s exclusive economic zone.

South Korea’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting and “expressed strong regret” immediately after the launch, which came at a time “when a stable state of affairs is very necessary,” the presidential Blue House said in a statement Tuesday morning.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida following the launch told reporters it was “extremely regrettable.”

The launch follows what Pyongyang claimed to be the firing of a “hypersonic” ballistic missile on Jan. 5, its first such test this year.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry on Friday dismissed the North’s claim that it successfully fired a hypersonic weapon last week, according to The Associated Press.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has advocated to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, in a speech urged not to “give up dialogue” with Pyongyang immediately following the Jan. 5 missile test.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Tuesday condemned the communist regime’s previous launch and declared it a violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.

“[North Korea’s] continued pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs is a threat to international peace and security,” the ambassador said in a joint statement. “This launch is the latest in a series of ballistic missile launches and shows [North Korea’s] determination to expand its unlawful weapons capabilities.”

South Korea did not sign the joint statement by the United States, Japan, Albania, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.

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