Leader Kim Jong Un is in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin, which are expected to focus on arms sales.
North Korea has fired at least one “unidentified ballistic missile” off its east coast, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
There were no immediate details on Wednesday’s launch, with the JCS saying further analysis was needed.
Japan’s coast guard, meanwhile, said two missiles may have been launched and appeared to have fallen into the sea.
The launch comes with leader Kim Jong Un in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin, where arms sales are said to be high on the agenda. A number of senior military officials were pictured accompanying Kim on his trip.
“Fascinating: a launch without Kim Jong (Un) in the country. A first,” wrote American security analyst Ankit Panda on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
North Korea has conducted numerous missile tests this year in violation of United Nations sanctions imposed in 2017 over its nuclear missile program. Since the beginning of 2022, there have been more than 100 rocket launches.
Pyongyang fired two short-range missiles on August 30, while Kim last week launched the country’s first “tactical nuclear strike” submarine, the Hero Kim Kun Ok.