N.Korea fires suspected ballistic missile

The Japanese government says North Korea has launched what is believed to have been a ballistic missile. This is the third time Pyongyang has fired a projectile this year.

The defense ministry made the announcement Friday afternoon. Officials say the projectile likely fell into the sea outside Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone.

The government has lodged a protest with North Korea through diplomatic channels in Beijing.

The South Korean military said the North had fired two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles on Friday.

North Korea launched what are believed to be ballistic missiles from the northern province of Jagang on January 5 and on Tuesday.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu said the launches threaten regional peace.

Matsuno said, "North Korea's actions, including repeated ballistic missile launches, threaten the peace and security of Japan and the region. It is a serious issue for the international community."

The US Indo-Pacific Command issued a statement on the incident, saying, "The U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad."