North Korea launched what appeared to be an intermediate-range missile oto a high altitude in the direction of Japan before it plunged into the sea, a technological advance for the isolated state after several test failures.
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The launch came about two hours after a similar test failed, South Korea's military said, and covered 400 km (250 miles), more than halfway towards the southwest coast of Japan's main island of Honshu.
Reclusive North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. The North regularly threatens to destroy the Japan, South Korea and the South's main ally, the United States.