©Health & Fitness Journal. FILE PHOTO: A North Korean flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su
By Heekyong Yang and Junko Fujita
SEOUL/TOKYO (Health & Fitness Journal) – North Korea fired two ballistic missiles at sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula on Sunday, South Korea and Japan said, prompting South Korea’s presidential office to “strongly condemn” Pyongyang over escalating tensions.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the two medium-range missiles flew about 500 km (311 miles).
Japan’s Deputy Defense Minister Toshiro Ino said the missiles appeared to have landed outside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and no damage was reported.
“North Korea’s ballistic missiles were launched at steep angles and landed in the East Sea,” South Korea’s JCS said in a statement.
“South Korea and United States intelligence agencies are conducting a thorough analysis, taking into account recent trends related to North Korean missile development.”
South Korea called a National Security Council (NSC) meeting over North Korea’s missile launch and “strongly condemned” the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, the South Korean presidential office said in a statement.
The presidential office added that the North’s continued provocations and the development of nuclear weapons and missiles would further endanger the North Korean regime.
The North’s missile launch comes just days after the country tested a high-thrust solid-fuel engine that experts said would enable faster and more mobile ballistic missile launches as it seeks to develop a new strategic weapon and expand its nuclear and to accelerate missile programs.
The test, overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, was conducted Thursday at North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, which was used to test rocket technologies, including rocket engines and launch vehicles, official KCNA news agency reported on Friday.
North Korea has conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, including an ICBM that can reach the US mainland despite international bans and sanctions.
In November, North Korea test-fired an ICMB that Japanese officials said had sufficient range to reach the mainland United States and landed just 200 km (130 miles) short of Japan
Japan on Friday unveiled its biggest military buildup since World War II with a $320 billion plan that will buy missiles capable of hitting China and prepare it for prolonged conflict.