North Korea fires missile before U.S. VP Harris visit

STORY: North Korea fired a ballistic missile towards the sea off its east coast on Sunday.

That came after a U.S. aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea on Friday – for the first time in four years – ahead of joint military drills starting this week.

And ahead of a visit to the region by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

South Korea's military said it was a single, short-range ballistic missile, fired from near the Taechon area of North Pyong’an Province, just before 7am local time.

Seoul called the launch "an act of grave provocation" and held an emergency national security council meeting to discuss response measures.

Japan’s Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters, including cruise missiles, this was the North’s 19th launch this year.

He said Pyongyang’s missile testing is taking place at an “unprecedented pace”, adding, “to do this as the Ukraine invasion unfolds is unforgivable.”

The last time North Korea carried out such a launch was in early June, when it fired eight short-range ballistic missiles in one day.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday that North Korea may also be preparing to test a submarine-launched ballistic missile, citing the South's military.