South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters on Sunday that North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles from the Domong village area in Gangwon to the waters off the east coast of the peninsula.
The missiles were launched between 1:47 am and 1:53 am local time on Sunday, according to Japanese Defense Minister Toshiro Ino.
Ino added that both missiles fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
According to Ino, the first missile is estimated to have flown about 350 kilometers or 217 miles, with a maximum altitude of about 100 kilometers or 62 miles. The second traveled about the same distance.
Ino noted that there were no reports of damage to ships at sea, but the defense ministry was still analyzing details and investigating what kind of missiles were fired, including whether they might have been submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said South Korea’s military has stepped up surveillance and vigilance while working closely with the U.S. and maintained a state of adequate readiness.
It was the 25th missile launch this year, including ballistic and cruise missiles, according to CNN. The last launch came on Thursday when North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles, the latest in a string of launches over the past two weeks.
The Japan Coast Guard instructed ships to pay attention to the information and not to approach anything that fell into the sea. It also requires ships to report any relevant information.
On Tuesday, North Korea fired another missile without warning, flying over Japan, causing Japan to warn its citizens to take shelter.
The missile flew over northern Japan early Tuesday and is believed to have landed in the Pacific Ocean. The last time North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan was in 2017.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that if North Korea continued “on this provocative path” after launching a ballistic missile on Tuesday, it “would only increase condemnation, increase isolation, and increase measures taken against its actions.”
The U.S. Treasury and State Department said the new U.S. sanctions on Friday followed North Korea’s recent ballistic missile test.
North Korea routinely fires missiles into waters off the coast of the Korean peninsula, making Tuesday’s flight over Japan even more provocative.
The sharp acceleration in weapons testing has sparked panic in the region, with the United States, South Korea and Japan responding with missile launches and joint military exercises. The United States also redeployed an aircraft carrier to waters off the peninsula, a move South Korean authorities called “very unusual.”
Ino said Japan sent a strong protest to North Korea through its embassy in Beijing.
U.S.-Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that U.S., South Korean and Japanese warships conducted missile defense exercises in the Sea of Japan on Thursday.