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North Korea test-fires ballistic missile, South Korea says

By Steve Almasy CNN

(CNN) -- North Korea on Sunday test-fired a ballistic missile, an official in the South Korean Ministry of Defense told CNN.

It is the first missile test conducted by North Korea since Donald Trump became US president.

"The South Korean government and the international community are working together to take punitive actions appropriate for this launch," acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn said.

Trump, when asked by reporters about the missile launch, declined to comment.

Another source within the South Korean Defense Ministry told CNN that North Korea launched a projectile from North Pyongan Province. The missile traveled 500 kilometers (310 miles) and landed in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, sources said.

The launch appears to have involved an intermediate-range ballistic missile, a senior US official told CNN.

A State Department official said, "We are aware of reports and monitoring the situation carefully."

Retired Lt. General Mark Hertling said the test was a step toward an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"That's the goal of the North Korean politicians," he said. "This intermediate ballistic missile is certainly dangerous. It has a greater range than some of the Musudan missiles that they have been testing prior to that. And it's not only a concern for the United States to hit the mainland, but it also has concerns for all of our Asia partners."

In January, US and South Korean officials told CNN that North Korea might be readying two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for a test launch in the near future.

North Korea has never successfully tested an ICBM, despite repeatedly showing off at military parades what it claims are working missiles. Some experts have publicly doubted whether these long-range missiles are anything but mock-ups.

In August, it test-fired two intermediate ballistic missiles.

North Korea also has test-launched ballistic missiles from submarines.

North Korea is prohibited from carrying out ballistic missile launches under UN Security Council resolutions aimed in part at curbing the country's development of nuclear weapons.

Developing story - more to come

CNN's Elise Labott and journalist Yoonjung Seo contributed to this report.

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