(CNN) — North Korea launched an unidentified projectile into waters off the eastern Korean peninsula on Saturday, believed to be a ballistic missile, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It was initially unclear how many projectiles had been launched, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the projectile was believed to be a single ballistic missile, launched from the Sunan area near the capital Pyongyang.
“The South Korean military maintains a readiness posture by monitoring related movements in preparation for additional launches,” the statement said.
South Korea’s National Security Council (NSC) will hold an emergency meeting on Saturday morning, the South Korean Presidential Office said in a statement.
Japan’s Coast Guard alerted its ships, saying “possible ballistic missiles have been launched from North Korea.”
“We advise ships to pay attention to more information, and if they see falling objects, stay away and report relevant information to the Japan Coast Guard,” he said.
International tension has been heightened by a recent series of North Korean ballistic missile tests, actions long banned by the United Nations Security Council.
This marks North Korea’s ninth missile test in 2022. January saw a record number of such tests, with at least seven launches during the month, including a new type of “hypersonic missile” capable of high-speed maneuvering.
Analysts suggest the increased testing this year shows Kim Jong Un is striving to meet national goals and shows an increasingly turbulent world that Pyongyang remains a player in the struggle for power and influence.
Saturday’s release comes just days before South Korea’s presidential election on March 9, in which North Korea is likely to be a key electoral issue.