SEOUL — North Korea fired a short-range, submarine-launched ballistic missile off its east coast on Saturday, hours after the United States warned that the country could carry out a nuclear test as soon as this month.
The missile, the first of its kind tested since October, was launched from waters near the coastal city of Sinpo and flew 372 miles, the South Korean military said. It was the North’s 15th missile test this year, a rapid pace by recent standards, and its second this week, taking place three days before Yoon Suk-yeol, South Korea’s president-elect, is scheduled to take office.
Analysts have warned that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is likely to order more weapons tests in the coming weeks, to develop the North’s missile and nuclear technology and to gain potential diplomatic leverage against Mr. Yoon and President Biden, who plan to meet in Seoul later this month.
On Friday, Jalina Porter, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, said that North Korea was making preparations at its underground nuclear test site and could be ready to conduct its seventh nuclear test “as early as this month.”
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