North Korea fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Saturday in the seventh weapons launch in a month, South Korea's military said, a day after it threatened to remain America's biggest threat in protest of US-led sanctions on the country. The North had been expected to halt weapons tests because the 10-day US-South Korean drills, which it views as an invasion rehearsal, ended earlier this week. Saturday's launches were made from northeastern South Hamgyong province, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. They flew about 236 miles at the maximum altitude of 60 miles, the military said. The Japanese government said the suspected missiles caused no damage and did not land in its territorial waters. South Korea's National Security Council expressed strong concern about the launches and urged North Korea to stop acts that raise military tensions, the AP reports.
Council members said South Korea will launch diplomatic efforts to make North Korea return to nuclear talks with the United States, according to the president's office. North Korea's anger over the US-South Korean military drills had focused on South Korea, not the United States. Starting in late July, North Korea has tested a slew of weapons, mostly short-range missiles and rockets. Some of the weapons revealed developments of a new rocket artillery system and two different short-range mobile ballistic missiles that experts say would expand its ability to strike targets throughout South Korea. Many analysts said the tests were aimed at applying more pressure on the United States ahead of a possible resumption of nuclear talks. President Trump's reaction to the latest launches, per the Hill: Kim Jong Un "likes testing missiles," the POTUS said. (Saturday's launches came two days after South Korea's controversial decision to terminate a military intelligence-sharing deal with Japan.)