North Korea fires two ballistic missiles

North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, says the US and Japan – the first such test since Joe Biden became US president.

Pyongyang is banned from testing ballistic missiles, considered threatening weapons, under UN Security Council resolutions.

Both Japan and South Korea have condemned the test.

It comes just days after North Korea reportedly fired two non-ballistic missiles into the Yellow Sea.

Japan said no debris had fallen within its territorial waters.

The US Pacific Command, which oversees military forces in the Asia-Pacific region, said on Thursday that the test highlighted “the threat that North Korea’s illicit weapons programme poses to its neighbours and the international community”.

Mr Biden is yet to officially comment.

On Tuesday, he played down a non-ballistic missile launch which took place over the weekend, saying the US did not consider it a provocation. Those short-range missiles were thought to be either artillery or cruise missiles, which are not banned under the UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea.

Thursday’s test also comes days after the US received its first North Korean in custody after Mun Chol Myung was extradited from Malaysia. Mr Mun is a businessman accused of laundering money through the US financial system to provide luxury items to North Korea.

The incident angered North Korea so much it cut off diplomatic ties with Malaysia.

The Biden administration says it has unsuccessfully tried to make diplomatic contact with North Korea.

Pyongyang has yet to acknowledge that Mr Biden is now in office, and the two countries remain at loggerheads over the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

BBC.com