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 497 miles on an apogee of 37 miles before landing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The military said South Korean and US intelligence authorities are analyzing more details about the launches, the AP reports. 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 from the missiles. The launches were a violation of UN Security Council resolutions that bar North Korea from engaging in any ballistic missile activities. But the UN council typically doesn't slap fresh sanctions on North Korea when it launches short-range missiles, like the ones fired Wednesday. North Korea's last missile launch involved long-range cruise missiles. Also Wednesday, South Korea conducted its first underwater-launched missile test.
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