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Bishkek (AKIpress) - North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan early Wednesday, and the projectiles, thought to be versions of the Scud missile, flew about 500 kilometers, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
While no damage to aircraft or ships has been reported, Japan immediately lodged a protest with North Korea via its embassy in Beijing, the Japanese media report.
"The latest missile launches are in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a regular press conference. "
"They fired missiles again despite our repeated protests."
North Korea has conducted an unusually large number of test-firings of missiles and rockets since earlier this year, including launches before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to South Korea. Analysts say the tests were a protest against Xi becoming Beijing’s first leader to come to the South before the North.
Pyongyang is also angry over regular U.S.-South Korean military drills, and the North’s short-range launches are seen a message to its neighbors and Washington not to interfere in its buildup of nuclear bombs and other defense capabilities.
South Korea has also rejected a set of proposals by North Korea that Pyongyang said were meant reduce tensions, including the cancellation of the war drills between Seoul and Washington. Seoul officials said the North must first demonstrate that it is serious about nuclear disarmament if it truly wants peace.
The two Koreas remain divided along the world’s most heavily fortified border. The Korean Peninsula officially remains in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.