North Korea fired a ballistic missile — S. Korea

South Korean military official says North Korea has fired what appears to be a ballistic missile from a region near its west coast.

The nature of the projectile is not immediately clear, a South Korean military official said by telephone.

Yonhap news agency reported the projectile launched appeared to be a ballistic missile.

North Korea has carried out a series of missile tests this year, increasing tensions with the US.

Pyongyang has accelerated its nuclear and missile tests in recent years, despite international condemnation and UN sanctions.

Two missile tests last month both failed.

The launch is the first since a new liberal president took office in South Korea on Wednesday, saying dialog as well as pressure must be used to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and stop the North’s weapons pursuit.

In a sign of Washington’s growing concern about the North, the CIA announced Wednesday its establishment of an integrated “Korea Mission Center.” It will be headed by a veteran operations officer to harness and direct the spy agency’s efforts in addressing the nuclear and ballistic missile threats.

The center will draw on officers from across the CIA and “bring their expertise and creativity to bear against the North Korea target,” an agency statement said.

More details to follow.