A top U.S. official says it appears North Korea has test-fired a short-range missile that landed in the Sea of Japan. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told U.S. television Sunday this is not the first such incident, but said Washington is watching closely.
The State Department added it is consulting with governments in the region. Such missile tests are seen as an effort by North Korea to strengthen its hand in dealings with its critics.
On Saturday, diplomats said the United States warned the International Atomic Energy Agency that North Korea appears ready to conduct an underground nuclear test.
North Korea dropped out of six-nation negotiations on ending its nuclear weapons program in February. North Korea fired a missile over Japan in 1998, and shot at least two missiles into the Sea of Japan two years ago.