North Korea fires two ballistic missiles, United States and South Korea say

Wednesday, 17 Aug, 2016

The 15-member council met behind closed doors for emergency talks called by the United States, Japan and South Korea over the ballistic missile launch, the latest provocation from Pyongyang.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strongly condemned the attack, describing it as a "grave threat" and "an outrageous act that can not be tolerated".

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said it was a "grave threat" to his country. "This is an outrageous act that can not be tolerated".

The DPRK missile reportedly landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), marking the first time that a DPRK missile fell on Japanese waters.

Its last missile test was less than three weeks ago, when it launched three short-range missiles.

This is the first case of a North Korean projectile falling into Japanese waters since 1998 and has raised concerns in the country over the safety of its aeronautics and maritime activities.

"The situation is tense and we need to do everything to de-escalate the situation", China's Ambassador Liu Jieyi told reporters.

"From the perspective of the safety of aircraft and ships, it is an extremely problematic, unsafe act", Suga said.

North Korea has previously fired Rodong and other missiles into the sea, but South Korean analysts say Wednesday's 1,000-kilometer flight was one of the longest for a North Korean test.

The JCS condemned the latest ballistic missile launches, calling them an indication of Pyongyang's ambition to "directly and broadly attack neighboring countries", and South Korea's ports, airfields and other locations.

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff noted that one of the missiles flew across the peninsula from the western province of South Hwanghae - a source cited by local news agency Yonhap suggested that it traveled close to its full range, which is estimated to be 1,300 kilometers (808 miles).

South Korean officials fear the North is now preparing to conduct a fifth test of a nuclear weapon. Under the agreement, the defense system, called "THAAD", will be deployed in Seongju by the end of next year. The U.S.is a known ally of South Korea, which is still at war with the North.

South Korea's ambassador to the United Nations called the launch a clear and present danger, . noting that the series of missile launches in recent months have been carried out to allow the North to upgrade and refine its missile technologies.

Washington also quickly hit back, with the State Department saying it was aware of the reports and warning it was prepared to "defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation".

"The tests were "self-defensive actions to cope with the threat from the United States".

The launches "only serve to increase the worldwide community's resolve to counter (North Korea's) prohibited activities, including through implementing existing U.N. Security Council sanctions", said Anna Richey-Allen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

On July 8, South Korea and the US abruptly announced an agreement to deploy one THAAD battery by the end of next year. And the result of the threats may further embolden South Korean resolve.

Power denied that the South Korea missile defense system, which China opposes, was a factor, saying it is "purely defensive" and aimed exclusively at protecting the South Korean people and USA and other forces stationed there from North Korean ballistic missiles.

It is probably a Rodong middle-range missile.

The ministry in a statement condemned what it called an "open violation of the UN Security Council resolution and a serious threat to [South Korea], neighboring countries and the global community".