North Korea fires apparent ballistic missile into ocean

North Korea fired what appeared to be a ballistic missile into the ocean off its east coast, according to Japan’s Ministry of Defense.

The missile landed outside of the country's territory.

“It is estimated that they will not fly into Japan's territory and will not fall into Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). We will continue to make every effort to collect and analyze information and to monitor security. We'll let you know as soon as we receive a follow-up report,” the ministry tweeted.

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The last reported test launch by North Korea was on March 21. 

United Nations Security Council resolutions bar North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, and the country has been heavily sanctioned over its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

The news comes as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on countries worldwide. North Korea shares a border with China, where the coronavirus infected over 80,000 people in the past few months.

North Korea has denied having cases of the coronavirus and continued military drills despite a border lockdown and quarantine measures imposed in the country in an effort to prevent an outbreak of the disease. 

Earlier this month, the top U.S. general in South Korea, Gen. Robert Abrams, said he is “fairly certain” North Korea has coronavirus infections.

"It is a closed-off nation, so we can’t say emphatically that they have cases. But we’re fairly certain they do,” Abrams said.

The Financial Times reported Thursday that North Korean officials have privately reached out to officials in other countries for unspecified aid, while the official number of reported cases in North Korea remains at zero.