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North Korea tests a ballistic missile

Kim Jong Un

North Korea tests another missile

Photo: Associated Press

North Korea test-fired a purported intermediate-range ballistic missile on Tuesday, South Korean officials said, its latest military maneuver since leader Kim Jong Un's New Year's declaration that he was giving the end of a policy that requires reconciliation with the South.

Pyongyang had no immediate comment on the suspected test, which comes just over a week before key South Korean legislative elections that will provide a barometer of support for conservative President Yoon Suk Yeol, who has held a tough against the North during his two-year term, CNN reported.

North Korea, which has faced years of international sanctions over its nuclear weapons program, has stepped up its weapons tests and military exercises in recent weeks.

On March 19, Pyongyang said it had tested a multi-stage, solid-fuel rocket motor for a "new-type medium-range hypersonic missile," according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Kim has stated after that test that the development of the IRBM system was as important to North Korea's security as its intercontinental ballistic missiles, which could theoretically reach the United States.