SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 05: People watch a TV at the Seoul Railway Station showing a file image of a North Korean missile launch, on January 05, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. North Korea on Wednesday fired what appears to be a ballistic missile toward the East Sea, South Korea's military said, in the recalcitrant regime's first show of force this year. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward its eastern waters on Wednesday. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile was fired from the North’s capital region and flew to the waters off its eastern coast. The Japanese Coast Guard urged vessels traveling off Japanese coasts to stay away from any possible fragments. The launch comes days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to bolster his nuclear arsenal and threatened to use them against rivals. The launch came six days before a new conservative South Korean president takes office. North Korea has a history of raising animosities with weapons tests when Seoul and Washington inaugurate new governments.