Seoul, Oct 9 (EFE).- Nuclear-armed North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan in the wee hours of Sunday, the South Korean military said.
The seventh round of launches in two weeks followed the conclusion of joint exercises by the navies of the United States, South Korea and Japan in the waters separating the Korean Peninsula from Japan.
The missiles were launched between 1:48 am and 1:58 am from Munchon, a city on North Korea’s eastern coast, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Each missile attained an altitude of 100 km (60 mi) and traveled 350 km before plunging into the sea outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, the Japanese Defense Ministry said.
Japan’s coast guard said that it had received no reports of damage to vessels in the vicinity at the moments of impact.
Pyongyang has stepped up missile tests since the arrival in Korean waters of a US Navy strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
“Our missile tests are a normal, planned self-defense measure to protect our country’s security and regional peace from direct US military threats,” North Korea’s official KCNA media agency said Saturday, citing an unnamed spokesman for the National Aviation Administration.
The missile tests “did not pose any threat or harm to the safety of civil aviation as well as the safety of neighboring countries and regions, by a full consideration of civil aviation safety in advance.”
KCNA said the statement was intended as a reply to criticism from the International Civil Aviation Organization Council, which condemned the launches for posing a serious safety risk to international civil aviation. EFE asb-mra/dr