A day after President Joe Biden laughed off the information that North Korea had fired two rockets as part of its latest missile tests, Pyongyang launched two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. The launch was reported early on Thursday, and the Japanese government officially confirmed that ballistic missiles were involved in the testing.
Thursday's launch was probably the first ballistic missile testing done by North Korea after the Joe Biden administration took power from Donald Trump.
South Korean officials who broke the news could not conclude which 'device type' used in the latest launch.
Peace and Security Threatened, Says Japan
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga confirmed Pyongyang launched two ballistic missiles. "It's been a year since they last launched a missile ... This threatens the peace and security of our country and the region. It is also a violation of the UN resolution," the PM said, according to the Channel News Asia.
Tokyo said the landed outside the Japanese exclusive economic zone after undertaking a flight path of about 450km.
Meanwhile, South Korea said it will hold a national security council meeting following the extreme provocation from North Korea.
South Korea's military said the 'unidentified projectiles' launched into the Sea of Japan on Thursday morning.
Biden Had Downplayed Threat
After reports emerged that Pyongyang had fired two short-range missiles over the weekend, Biden had played down the move. "According to the Defense Department, it's business as usual," Biden had said.
Last week's test took place after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a visit to northeast Asia promising to work towards the North's denuclearization. They were also the first since July last year when Pyongyang fired what were also thought to be cruise missile. During his mission, Blinken had repeatedly highlighted the need to enforce the denuclearization of North Korea.
Interestingly, the missile tests were conducted just a week after North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong warned the Biden Administration not to "raise a stink". "A word of advice to the new administration of the United States that is struggling to spread the smell of gunpowder on our land from across the ocean," she had said.
Earlier in February, the US had said that its missile defense capability was "clearly focused" on North Korea more than China or Iran. General John Hyten also added that it was likely that Pyongyang would "actually fire" a missile at the U.S.
"Our national missile defense capability is clearly focused on North Korea right now, not on China, Russia and Iran ... Without going into the classified details...I'll just say...go and look at the video of the North Korean parade, and you will just see different missiles coming through on that parade," the US Air Force general said during a webinar hosted by think tank the Center for Strategic International Studies.