The South Korean and Japanese governments confirmed North Korea fired two ballistic missiles off its east coast on Wednesday, two days after Pyongyang claimed to have successfully tested a new cruise missile.
The weapons were believed to be ballistic missiles, according to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who described the launch as "a threat to Japan's and the region's peace and security."
"This is simply outrageous," Suga said, adding that the missiles landed outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone, but that the government will monitor the area "more closely than ever."
Ballistic missile testing, unlike cruise missile testing, is expressly prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions.
The tests are the first in six months for North Korea.
The two ballistic missiles were launched from a central inland area of North Korea and flown into the sea off the Korean Peninsula's east coast, in a statement released by South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday.
According to the report, South Korean and U.S. intelligence services were performing extensive analyses for more information, and the South Korean military had increased monitoring in the area.
Both South Korea and Japan announced that their national security councils will meet.
North Korean state media reported on Monday that a new long-range cruise missile was tested twice over the weekend. The missile was classified as "a strategic weapon of great significance," implying that it could be North Korea's first cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
North Korea last tested a new tactical short-range ballistic missile in March, which was the most recent weapons activity before this month. It also launched a cruise missile hours after President Joe Biden was sworn in in late January, as is customary for it to do with new U.S. leaders.
Dismantling North Korea's nuclear programs has been halted since 2019, when talks between former President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed over U.S. sanctions.
While the Biden administration has expressed willingness to engage in negotiations, it has also said that sanctions will not be lifted until North Korea has made progress toward denuclearization.
During parades in October and in January, the North Korean military showcased two new missiles. One was so massive that it required an 11-axle truck to transport it, according to analysts.