North Korea on Saturday fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles from a site on the country’s East coast, the South Korean presidential office said.
South Korea said this was the fifth such launch within weeks.
The presidency said it interpreted the launches as “a “demonstration of power” by the North, timed to coincide with annual joint exercises currently taking place between the South Korean and U.S. militaries.
Seoul said it expects further missile firings in the coming weeks.
Saturday’s missiles flew around 400 kilometres, reaching a maximum altitude of 48 kilometres, before landing in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, the South Korean military said.
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from launching ballistic missiles, whether short, medium or long range.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House before news of the latest launches emerged, U.S. President Donald Trump said that North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, wasn’t happy with the joint military exercises.
“He wasn’t happy with the tests – the war games. The war games on the other side, with the U.S.,” Trump said.
“I’ve never liked it either … I don’t like paying for it,” the president said.
He again downplayed Pyongyang’s recent string of tests.
“The missile tests have all been short-range. No ballistic missile tests. No long-range missiles,” Trump said.
He also said he had received a “very beautiful letter” from Kim, but did not say what it contained.
“I think we’ll have another meeting,” Trump said.
“He really wrote a beautiful, three-page – I mean, right from top to bottom – a really beautiful letter.”
Pyongyang and Washington are currently trying to relaunch stalled talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programmes and economic sanctions.
Trump and Kim met in June in the Demilitarised Zone between the two Koreas and agreed to restart talks.
That meeting came after a second summit between the leaders in Hanoi in February failed to yield a deal on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament and the reduction of sanctions. (dpa/NAN)