Japan’s Coast Guard said the missiles splashed down in the Sea of Japan, according to Japanese media reports.

North Korea has reportedly fired two ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan, the latest launches in a year that has seen an unprecedented barrage of missile tests by an increasingly belligerent Pyongyang.

Japan’s Coast Guard said the first ballistic missile was fired on Saturday morning shortly after 08:00 am local time (23:00 GMT) and the second missile was launched at around 08:16 (23:16 GMT), The Japan Times reported.

The missiles splashed down in the Sea of Japan but outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone – a body of water that extends around 370km (200 nautical miles) from the country’s coastline, according to the news organisation.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the first missile launch by North Korea but gave no further details, such as the specific type of weapon or the distance the missile had travelled.

The launches on Saturday adds to North Korea’s tally of around 70 ballistic missiles – including some eight intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) – fired throughout the year, the most ever by the nuclear armed Pyongyang which has officially announced plans to modernise its military capabilities in response to what is says is provocation by South Korea and its key ally, the United States.

Saturday’s launch also comes just days after North Korea allegedly flew drones into South Korea’s airspace for the first time since 2017, prompting Seoul to deploy fighter jets and helicopters to shoot down the unmanned aerial vehicles.

South Korea’s military later apologised for failing to shoot down the drones and the country’s President Yoon Suk Yeol has since called for stronger air defences and high-tech stealth drones to better monitor North Korea.

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