North Korea fires unidentified projectile, military in Seoul say

North Korea fired at least one short-range ballistic missile into the East Sea on May 29, said South Korea's military, in an apparent effort to demonstrate its ballistic missile capability and use it as leverage for potential negotiation over the regime's nuclear program.

North Korea is still thought to be several years from its goal of being able to target USA mainland cities with a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile.

Japan and South Korea strongly condemned Monday's missile launch, which landed in the former's exclusive economic maritime zone.

The US Pacific Command said it had detected and tracked the short-range missile for six minutes, determining that it did not pose a threat to the US.

"As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the global community", Abe told reporters on Monday, according to Reuters.

South Korea and Japan have immediately issued strong protests, with Japan's Prime Minister promising "concrete action" in response and the South Korean defense chiefs saying the North would face "strong punishment from our military".

This sets up the potential that Pyongyang is looking to use the test to show it can hit USA targets near and far and to emphasize its defiance of US -led pressure on its missile and nuclear programs, which has included vague threats from President Donald Trump and the arrival in Korean waters of powerful US military hardware.

"Our country can never tolerate repeated provocative actions by North Korea", he said, condemning the launch.

The worldwide community has intensified pressure on the defiant North and the leaders of Group of Seven (G-7) member countries during a meeting in Italy last week urged Pyongyang to "fully comply with all UNSC resolutions and abandon all nuclear and ballistic missile programmes".

Mattis also warns that a war with North Korea would be catastrophic.

Defense Secretary James Mattis offered a dark outlook of what war with North Korea would look like hours before the rogue regime launched another ballistic missile.

The launch comes a day after North Korea's state media reported the test of a new anti-aircraft weapon system, and released pictures of leader Kim Jong-un watching the test.

All the North's tests have been carried out in direct defiance of United Nations sanctions warnings and US threats of military action. A reportedly nuclear-capable missile was launched just a week after North Korea launched its Hwasong-12 rocket. And in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russian Federation as well.

Modified versions of the Scud have a range of up to 1,000 km (620 miles).

April 5: North Korea fires a missile on the eve of a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.