SEOUL — There was a missile fired by North Korea off of its east coast and it went off. In the first test of the new year, North Korea fired a ballistic missile into waters off its east coast, South Korea and Japan say.

People in Jagang Province in northern China say that around 8:10 a.m. local time, a missile was fired from that area. The missile then landed in the water between Korea and Japan, South Korea’s military says. About 310 miles away from Japan’s economic zone, officials in Tokyo say the plane came down. Flight path: It looks like North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile from its country.

It comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to build high-tech weapons to fight what he called “military instability” on the Korean Peninsula.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the launch was “very regrettable,” pointing out that Pyongyang has been testing missiles a lot since last year.

In Seoul, the military said that South Korea is paying close attention to the situation and keeping its defence posture the same.

A new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile and a weapon that could be fired from a train were both tested by North Korea last year. It said that both of these weapons worked well. Under UN sanctions, Pyongyang launched a lot of missiles last year, even though it is against the rules.

It comes after North Korea has not agreed to talks with the United States and South Korea, even though they have asked them to do so. For more than two years, Washington and Pyongyang haven’t talked about nuclear issues in a real way. People in the Biden administration have always said they’d like to meet without preconditions, but the Kim regime has always turned them down. In his speech at the end of the year, Mr. Kim mostly didn’t talk about the US or South Korea.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, North Korea has had problems at home. It has kept its borders closed since early 2020, which has hurt the economy. This is what Mr. Kim has said: There will be a lot less food.

It was at the end of the year that Mr. Kim said that he wanted to improve people’s living standards. He said that the country was in a “great life and death fight.” In the past, the United States has asked North Korea to give up its weapons and come back to the negotiating table, but Pyongyang hasn’t done anything about it.

This isn’t the only thing North Korea has said about South Korea: It says that the country has double standards when it comes to military activities. South Korea tested its first submarine-launched ballistic missile in 2013.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Seoul’s Ewha University, said that even though North Korea is in a very difficult economic situation, including food shortages, the country is still working on its offensive military capabilities.

Hours after the missile launch, South Korean President Moon Jae-in went to the city of Goseong on the east coast of the country. There, he was at a ceremony for a new rail line that he called a “stepping stone for peace and regional balance” on the Korean Peninsula. As time went on, the rail line would link the two Koreas together.

During his speech at the ceremony, Mr. Moon said that the launch raised tensions, but he also said that North Korea should return to talks.