For the second time in less than a week, North Korea launched missiles, according to South Korea's joint chiefs of staff. The short-range, ground-based ballistic missiles were launched Thursday morning off North Korea's east coast, toward the sea, CNN reports. They reached an altitude of 37 miles and traveled 280 miles into the Sea of Japan. North Korea's first weapons test since President Biden took office was held over the weekend, shortly after Pyongyang issued a warning to Biden and rebuffed American attempts at diplomacy. But unlike that test, these were ballistic missiles, which North Korea is banned from launching under UN security council resolutions, the BBC reports.
South Korea's security council expressed "deep concern," and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the launch was a "threat to the peace and security" of his country. "Japan lodges its serious protest and strongly condemns," he said. The missiles did not reach Japan's territorial waters, the country says. The short-range projectiles launched Sunday were thought to be cruise or artillery missiles, and one expert says the Biden administration was able to downplay that launch as not a serious threat to diplomatic efforts, seeing as it was around a "two" on a scale from one to 10. Thursday's would be "more than a two," and "that's going to make it a little harder for the Biden people," he says. The US military's Indo-Pacific Command says it is monitoring the situation and consulting allies, Reuters reports. (Read more North Korea stories.)