The launch is Pyongyang’s seventh weapon test in a two-week period amid U.S.-South Korea military maneuvers.
North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles towards its eastern waters – the latest in its barrage of weapons tests after Pyongyang warned against the US redeployment of an aircraft carrier for a new series of exercises with South Korean warships.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that they detected the two missiles launched early on Sunday from the North eastern coastal town of Munchon. The two missiles reached an altitude of 100 km (60 miles) and covered a range of 350 km (217 miles), Japan’s Minister of State for Defense Toshiro Ino told reporters.
South Korea’s military has strengthened its surveillance posture and maintains preparedness in close coordination with the United States, he said.
The Japanese government said North Korea had fired what was possible from ballistic missiles.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed officials to collect and analyze information while ensuring the safety of planes and ships across the country.
The Japanese Coast Guard said it had warned vessels off the coast of falling objects and urged them to stay away. Ino said Tokyo would not tolerate North Korea’s repeated actions.
The launch, the seventh round of the North weapons testing in two weeks, came hours after the United States and South Korea concluded a new series of naval exercises off the east coast of the Korean peninsula.
The drills involved the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its battle group, which returned to the area after North Korea fired a powerful missile over Japan last week to protest earlier training of the aircraft carrier group with South Korea.
On Saturday, North Korea’s defense ministry warned that the Regan’s redeployment was causing a “considerable negative splash” in regional security.
He called his recent missile tests a “righteous reaction” to intimidating military drills between his rivals.
“Our missile tests are a normal, planned self-defense measure to protect our country’s security and regional peace against direct US military threats,” state media KCNA said, citing a spokesperson for the agency. aviation administration.
North Korea eyes the United States and South Korea military exercises as an invasion rehearsal and is particularly sensitive if such exercises involve strategic US assets such as an aircraft carrier.
North Korea has argued that it was forced to pursue a nuclear weapons program to deal with US nuclear threats.
US and South Korean officials have repeatedly said they have no intention of attacking the North.
North Korea’s latest launch added to its record pace of weapons testing this year.
These included a nuclear-capable missile that flew over Japan for the first time in five years on Tuesday, prompting residents to take cover and demonstrating range to attack the US territory of Guam in the Pacific and beyond. of the.
Earlier this year, North Korea tested other nuclear-capable ballistic missiles that put the continental United States and its allies South Korea and Japan within striking range.
North Korea’s test spree has indicated that its leader, Kim Jong Un, has no intention of resuming diplomacy with the United States and wants to focus on expanding its arsenal of weapons .
But some analysts said Kim would ultimately aim to use his advanced nuclear program to wrest greater outward concessions, such as recognizing North Korea as a legitimate nuclear state, which Kim says is key to getting crippling UN sanctions lifted against his country.
South Korean officials recently said North Korea is also ready to test a new liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile and a submarine-launched ballistic missile while remaining ready to conduct its first underground nuclear test since 2017.