North Korea has fired a pair of ballistic missiles off its east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, days after Pyongyang said it had tested a long-range cruise missile.
The North has been gradually building up its weapons programme amid stalled talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff reported news of the firing on Wednesday.
Japan’s Coast Guard also said an object landed outside it exclusive economic zone that could be a ballistic missile fired from North Korea.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga condemned the apparent test launch and called it “outrageous”.
Both Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened sessions of their national security councils to discuss the launches, according to their offices.
The foreign ministers of South Korea and China were holding talks in Seoul on Wednesday amid concerns over North Korea’s recent missile test and the denuclearisation negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington, which have been stalled since 2019.
If confirmed as a ballistic missile, the test would be North Korea’s first since March this year and a further breach of United Nations sanctions.
The launch came after North Korea said it successfully tested a new long-range cruise missile last weekend, calling it “a strategic weapon of great significance.” Analysts say the missile could be the country’s first such weapon with a nuclear capability.