North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un KCNA/via REUTERS

North Korea fired projectiles into the sea off its east coast, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Sunday (local time), according to Reuters.

Japan's coast guard said in a statement that North Korea appeared to have fired a ballistic missile.

If confirmed, this would be North Korea's seventh test of a rocket in recent weeks.

On Thursday, North Korea confirmed that it conducted tests of an upgraded long-range cruise missile and a warhead of a tactical guided missile.

Last week, North Korea warned it would bolster its defenses against the United States and consider restarting "all temporally-suspended activities," an apparent reference to a self-imposed moratorium on testing its nuclear bombs and long-range missiles.

North Korea regularly launches ballistic missiles and had a series of such tests in late 2021, the most recent of which was in October when it test-fired a new ballistic missile from a submarine.

Pyongyang restarted its missile tests after denuclearization talks with the United States came to a halt.

Former US President Donald Trump tried to reach an agreement with North Korea while in office. Kim and Trump met in Hanoi in 2019 for a summit that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The pair had met three times since June 2018 but made little progress towards denuclearization.

The Biden administration reached out to North Korea shortly after taking office, but the country did not respond to those overtures.

In Biden’s first policy speech to Congress, he said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran posed threats that would be addressed through “diplomacy and stern deterrence”.

Responding to that speech, North Korea dismissed the idea of talks with Washington, saying Biden’s speech was “intolerable” and “a big blunder."