South Korea’s military confirmed two short-range ballistic missiles were fired by North Korea towards eastern waters.
The missiles flew approximately 360 km and reached an altitude of 30 km with a maximum velocity of Mach 6.
“North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile into the East Sea,” Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement on Wednesday, referring to waters more commonly known as the Sea of Japan.
“Our military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance and is maintaining airtight readiness posture while closely cooperating with the United States.”
Japan’s coast guard also warned ships to be aware, referring to information from Tokyo’s defence ministry. Japan prime minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement that authorities are analysing information and working to ensure safety for aircraft, vessels, and the public.
The missiles that were launched from Pyongyang came ahead of the scheduled visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris to South Korea. Harris will arrive in Seoul on Thursday and is expected to visit the demilitarised zone between North Korea and South Korea.
Another ballistic missile was launched earlier on Sunday off fhe east coast towards the sea. Harris said the Sunday launch was part of an “illicit weapons programme which threatens regional stability and violates multiple UN Security Council resolutions”.
The US said Harris’s visit is to show its commitment to the security of South Korea. The US posts about 28,500 troops in South Korea to act as a deterrent against North Korea.
The two countries are also currently conducting navy drills off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. Joint exercises by the US and South Korea have long been held and they insist they are purely for defensive purposes, but North Korea have criticised the exercises and viewed them as hostile.
Since 2006, the UN has subjected North Korea to sanctions which the Security Council have steadily increased over the years to cut off funding for nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.