North Korea has launched at least three unidentified projective missiles outside of its border zone, reports suggest. The projectiles were launched from the easter town of Pondok in North Korea’s South Hamgyong Province, according to Yonhap news agency.
The agency cited the South Korean joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as their source.
No further details have been provided over the type of projectiles, their flight range or altitude.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a parliamentary session in Tokyo that multiple projectiles “believed to have been ballistic missiles” were launched and are presumed to have dropped into the Sea of Japan.
The government has received no immediate reports of damage to aircraft or vessels, Mr Abe said, while adding that the North Korean action constituted a “threat to the peace and safety of our country and region” as well as a “serious issue for international society.”
It comes as North Korea last renewed its missile efforts, launching two separate unidentified projectiles into the Sea of Japan, according to the South Korea military.
The projectiles flew 240 kilometres (150 miles) at a maximum altitude of 35 kilometres (21 miles).
It was the first missile test by Pyongyang in 2020.
North Korea watchers were not surprised by the news, as the authoritarian regime’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, announced earlier this year in his New Year’s Day message that he planned to demonstrate a “new strategic weapon” in the near future.
And, while it was negotiating with Washington, Pyongyang suspended test launches of it short and medium range missiles.
It did, however, resume the tests after denuclearisation talks were cut short and ended prematurely without a deal in February 2019.
The missiles launches broke a three-month halt.
Officials say the most recent launch were routine military drills, adding that Mr Kim personally oversaw them.
Britain, Germany, France, Estonia and Belgium raised North Korea’s latest missile firings at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday.
They called them a provocative action that violated U.N. resolutions.
The sister of North Korea’s leader said recent drills were not meant to threaten anyone, according to a statement carried by state news agency KCNA last week.
North Korea, which has historically stepped up missile testing in the spring, carried out its last test in November, before the recent two.
Monday’s test comes just day after South Korea and the US announced they were postponing the annual joint drills that anger the North.
This was due to concern over the coronavirus.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said the tests seemed to be “less provocative than North Korea is capable of”.
But the country is still “making it clear it will continue to improve military capabilities and make outsized demands”.