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(LEAD) N. Korea fires ballistic missile toward East Sea: S. Korea

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By Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, Oct. 19 (Yonhap) — North Korea fired a ballistic missile toward the East Sea on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said, as Seoul, Washington and Tokyo crank up diplomacy to resume dialogue with Pyongyang.

The missile was launched eastward from a site in the vicinity of Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). It said the launch was detected at 10:17 a.m. but gave no other details.

“The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States are currently conducting a thorough analysis regarding additional information,” the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.

The launch came as the top nuclear envoys of the South, the U.S. and Japan are in Washington to discuss joint efforts to bring the North back to dialogue through humanitarian aid and other incentives.

The North has been seen pushing for a military buildup as witnessed in a series of recent missile tests, including last month’s launches of a new type of long-range cruise missile and a hypersonic missile.

Pyongyang’s continued saber-rattling tempered cautious optimism that has emerged since the reactivation of inter-Korean communication channels earlier this month.

In Washington on Tuesday, Seoul’s top nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Sung Kim and Takehiro Funakoshi, plan to meet trilaterally to discuss a joint strategy on the North.

On Monday, Noh and Kim met bilaterally and discussed President Moon Jae-in’s recent proposal for the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which Seoul believes is an effective measure to build confidence with Pyongyang.

The U.S. envoy plans to visit Seoul later this week to further discuss diplomacy toward the North.

This file photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, shows a missile launch. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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