North Korea fires 2 ballistic missiles into Sea of Japan
TOKYO. KAZINFORM North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Saturday morning, the Japanese government said, in its seventh round of launches in about a month.
South Korea's military said North Korea fired what were believed to be short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its eastern coast from South Hamgyong Province. It said they flew about 380 kilometers and reached a maximum altitude of about 97 km, Kyodo News reports.
Tokyo and Seoul are gathering information about the missiles, which are unlikely to have landed in Japan's territory or exclusive economic zone, in cooperation with the United States.
Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya criticized the launches as «a clear violation» of U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban Pyongyang from testing such missiles.
The missile launches came a day after South Korea formally informed Japan of its decision to scrap a bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact amid an intensifying spat between the two neighbors over wartime history and trade policy.
«As North Korea closely monitors regional affairs, I believe the country took advantage of the situation,» Iwaya told reporters, referring to the timing of the missile firings.
The minister said Seoul's decision not to renew the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA, which expires in November, had not affected intelligence gathering on the latest missile launches by the Japanese government.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said it intends to share intelligence on the latest North Korean missile launches with Japan at the request of Tokyo.
It was the seventh launch of projectiles since July 25 and the first since U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises ended last Tuesday.
North Korea, which sees the annual joint drills as rehearsals for invasion, said earlier this month its firing of short-range missiles was a «warning» sent to the United States and the South over the exercises.