North Korea
The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen during its test launch. The launch came days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations were due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea's weapons programme, which it has pursued in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions. Reuters

North Korea launched at least three short-range ballistic missiles that landed in the Sea of Japan, South Korean and the US military said on Saturday. According to reports, the missiles were launched from the eastern province of Kangwon at 6.49 am and travelled roughly 250 km before plunging into the sea.

The US Pacific Command has confirmed the launches and added that "the first and third missiles failed in flight", while the second "appears to have blown up almost immediately". The statement further added that the launches "did not pose a threat to North America" or Guam.

This latest missile launch comes as the US and South Korean armies are conducting annual joint military drills known as "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" in South Korea, which began on Monday. However, it was not immediately clear whether the missiles were short or long range.

South Korea's presidential office has convened a meeting of its National Security Council to discuss the matter.

The launch is the first since a nocturnal test was carried out on July 28, in which an intercontinental ballistic missile was fired into the Sea of Japan, provoking a new round of UN sanctions and rebukes from the international community.

North Korea responded by threatening to bomb the waters surrounding the US territory of Guam, which led to one of the most serious escalations in hostile rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang in recent years.