North Korea fires projectile: report

North Korea fires projectile: report
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North Korea has launched a projectile, the U.S. military confirmed Saturday evening. 

It was not immediately clear what the projectile was. Original reports speculated the projectile was a ballistic missile, however the U.S. Pacific Command said the flight was 'not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile.'

President Trump was briefed on the launch according to a White House statement late Saturday.

"With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil – in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan – the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased," the statement said. "North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long.  South Korea and Japan have been watching this situation closely with us."

"The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea," the statement continued. "Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea." 

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.

Pyongyang has attempted four different ballistic missile tests in the past two months, but each has failed. It was unclear if Saturday's launch was successful.

The North’s last attempt at a missile test was on April 28 when the weapon exploded minutes after takeoff.

Saturday's launch comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over Pyongyang’s rapidly advancing weapons program.

In an interview with Reuters last month, President Trump said that a “major, major conflict” between the U.S. and North Korea remained a possibility.

Hoping to deter further weapons tests by Pyongyang, the U.S. last month moved a naval strike group into the West Pacific near the Korean Peninsula.

That maneuver, however, drew swift condemnation from North Korea, who denounced it as an act of aggression and threatened a nuclear strike on the U.S. if provoked.

Even more recently, the U.S. has moved its THAAD missile defense system to a deployment site in South Korea in preparation for a possible North Korean missile launch.

The North’s latest test launch comes four days after South Korea elected Democratic Party candidate Moon Jae In president, ending nearly a decade of conservative rule in the country.

Moon has called for Seoul to ease tensions with Pyongyang, and has been more wary of South Korea’s alliance with the U.S., even proposing a review of the THAAD deployment.

Updated: 8:00 p.m.