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North Korea fires short-range missiles into sea

SEOUL, South Korea: North Korea has fired two short-range missiles into the sea, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The missiles were launched across the sea early on Thursday, from Wonsan on North Korea’s east coast.

It marks the first time North Korea has fired off any missiles since leader Kim Jong-un’s impromptu meeting with Donald Trump late last month.

It also comes after anger from the North over planned military exercises between South Korea and the US, which is an annual event.

The first missile was launched at about 05:34 Thursday local time (20:34 GMT Wednesday) and the second at 05:57, said the JCS.

North Korea launched the missiles from the coastal city of Wonsan with one flying about 430 kilometres (267 miles) and the other 690 kilometres (428 miles) out over the sea.

They both reached an altitude of 50 kilometres (30 miles) before falling into the Sea of Japan.

The official said the second, longer-range missile appeared to be a new design, but a detailed analysis was being done to verify that.

After analysis from US and South Korean intelligence officials, the JCS said at least one was likely to have been a “new type of missile”.

Japan’s defence minister said the launches did not reach Japanese waters and had no immediate impact on its national security.

It is not clear if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un oversaw Thursday’s launch.