North Korea on Sunday test-fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, a move that is being seen as a direct challenge to the new president of South Korea elected four days ago. The missile flew for half an hour and reached an unusually high altitude – indicating that it may be a new type of weapon – before landing in the sea, the militaries of South Korea, Japan and the United States said, according to AP.

This was North Korea’s seventh such test-firing this year. The launch was carried out as European, American and Japanese navies gather for joint military drills in the Pacific. The US White House said Washington maintains its “ironclad commitment” to stand with its allies as they face the “threat” posed by Pyongyang, calling for stronger sanctions against the elusive country for its latest “provocation”.

South Korea President Moon Jae-in, who favours holding a dialogue with the North, condemned the launch at an emergency national security meeting. He called it a clear violation of United Nations Security Council’s resolutions and a threat to international peace and security. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the launch was “absolutely unacceptable”.