North Korea on Thursday fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast, South Korea's military said, just days after firing other projectiles that possibly include a banned ballistic missile.

The projectiles were fired from the Kusong area of North Pyongan Province, in the northwestern part of the country, in an easterly direction at around 4:30 p.m., the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

One flew about 420 kilometers and the other about 270 km, it said.


A South Korean military official, speaking on background, later clarified that the projectiles, which flew at an altitude of about 50 km, splashed down in the Sea of Japan, known to Koreans as the East Sea.

Japan's Defense Ministry said there is no indication the projectiles landed in waters around Japan or the country's exclusive economic zone.

South Korean President Moon urged the North to refrain from further launches.

"Wherever the North's intentions lie, we would like to caution that such acts by the North could only make it difficult (to continue) momentum for talks," he said.

Regarding the projectiles fired off North Korea's eastern coast into the Sea of Japan on Saturday, diplomatic sources said Thursday that the U.S. government believes that one of them was a new type of short-range ballistic missile banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

(Projectile fired on May 4)

But is refraining from identifying it as such due to concerns that doing so could hamper President Donald Trump's efforts to reach a denuclearization deal.

Such a move by North Korea would normally be condemned at an emergency session of the council.

On Wednesday, North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesperson as describing Saturday's firings as a "strike drill" designed to "check the operating ability of large-caliber long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons."

The official added the purpose of the drill was also to check "the accuracy in mission fulfilment and the combat performance of military equipment of the defense units in the frontline area and on the eastern front and, on this occasion, to further galvanize the entire army into the movement for becoming crack shots and make thorough preparations for combat mobilization at all times."

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