North Korea fired two ballistic missiles toward the sea in defiance of UN resolutions, the second weapons test in several days that experts say shows it’s pressing ahead with its arms build-up plans while nuclear diplomacy with the United States remains stalled.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the missiles, launched from central North Korea, flew about 800 kilometers (497 miles) on an apogee of 60 kilometers (37 miles). Japan’s coast guard says they landed outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Seoul said South Korean and US intelligence authorities are analyzing more details about the North Korean launches. The US Indo-Pacific Command said the launches, while highlighting the destabilizing impact of North Korea’s illicit weapons program, didn’t pose an immediate threat to “US personal or territory, or to our allies.” “The firings threaten the peace and safety of Japan and the region and are absolutely outrageous,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said. “The government of Japan is determined to further step up our vigilance and surveillance to be prepared for any contingencies.” Japan’s coast guard said no ships or aircraft reported damage due to the North Korean launches. North Korea had said Monday it tested a newly developed cruise missile twice over the weekend. The launches were a violation of UN Security Council resolutions that bar North Korea from engaging in any ballistic missile activities. Experts say the North Korean launches showed it’s pressing ahead with its arms build-up plans while trying to apply pressure on the United States to resume stalled nuclear talks.