North Korea fires 4 ballistic missiles into Sea of Japan

"Repeated launches by North Korea are a serious, provocative action in terms of security and clearly violate United Nations security council resolutions".

Abe said three landed within Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from its coastline according to global maritime law.

South Korean officials said the missiles flew about 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles, into waters off its east coast. "It is an extremely risky action", Abe said during lawmaker questions in parliament.

Tongchang-ri is near the North's border with China, where the isolated state fired a long-range rocket past year that put an object into orbit.

Seoul said four missiles were fired from North Pyongan province into the East Sea - its name for the Sea of Japan - and that South Korea and the USA were "closely analyzing" tracking data for further details. The two condemned the launches and agreed to boost cooperation to get the North to face more effective sanctions and pressure, according to South Korea's presidential office.

South Korea and United States are holding their annual military exercises, known as Foal Eagle, which both countries say are defensive in nature.

There were no immediate reports of damage to ships or aircraft in the area, Japan's top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said at a news conference in Tokyo, calling the latest missile launch a "grave threat to national security".

The State Department said Pyongyang's bellicose actions will only help strengthen the already "ironclad" resolve of Washington and its allies against North Korea's "unlawful conduct".

North Korea fired a ballistic missile last month - its first such launch since October - which Seoul had said was aimed at drawing "global attention" to its nuclear and missile program and "testing the response from the new USA administration" of President Donald Trump.

Past year the country conducted two nuclear tests and numerous missile launches in its quest to develop a nuclear weapons system capable of hitting the continental U.S.

The launch comes weeks after North Korea test-fired a new type of missile, the Pukguksong-2, a medium-long range ballistic missile.

North Korean state media reported that Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the operation.

That launch came as Trump was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

  • Leroy Wright