UK & World News
North Korea 'Fires Two Missiles Into Sea'
North Korea has test-fired two mid-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan, according to a South Korean news agency.
The missiles are the latest of dozens of launches in the last month thought to be in defiance of joint military training drills between South Korea and the US.
North Korea regularly condemns them as rehearsals for an invasion, while Seoul and Washington claim they are purely defensive.
"North Korea fired a ballistic missile at 2.35am and another at 2.45am from the Sukchon region, north of Pyongyang, into the East Sea," South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, according to the Yonhap news agency citing senior South Korean military officials.
The missiles, which appeared to be Rodong class, flew some 650km (400 miles), the agency said.
Ten days ago North Korea reportedly fired 25 rockets off the country's east coast which flew about 42 miles into the Sea of Japan.
The recent rocket launches, including a ballistic missile that crossed the path of a Chinese passenger plane, have put South Korean troops on increased alert.
North Korea's National Defence Commission has previously threatened to demonstrate the country's nuclear deterrent.
In a statement issued ten days ago the commission said: "Additional measures will be taken to demonstrate its might one after another as long as the US nuclear threat and blackmail persist as now.
"The US had better roll back its worn-out hostile policy towards (North Korea) as soon as possible and shape a new realistic policy before it is too late."
The launches came on the day Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting South Korean President Park, along with President Barack Obama.
North Korea carried out nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and most recently in February 2013.
Six-party talks on the North's nuclear weapons programme have stalled, although there is a push from Pyongyang and its main ally, China, for these to resume.
The US and South Korea say North Korea must demonstrate a commitment to abandoning nuclear weapons before this can happen.