North Korea launched three ballistic missiles on Friday, with two failing in flight and one blowing up at launch, according to an initial assessment. In July, it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, which North Korea claims could reach "anywhere in the world".
In the latest launch, the U.S. Pacific Command says two of the North's missiles failed in flight after an unspecified distance, and another appeared to have blown up immediately.More news: Korea fires 3 short-range ballistic missiles: United States military
North Korea fired "several unidentified short-range projectiles" from Kittaeryong, Kangwon province, into the sea east of the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Early reports suggested that the missiles traveled only 150 miles before falling in the sea.
Lee Il-Woo, an analyst at Korea Defence Network, said the launches represented a "low-level provocative act" carried out in response to the US-South Korea exercises, which are seen by Pyongyang as a rehearsal for an invasion of its own territory.
Japanese authorities had determined they were ballistic missiles, Japan's NHK broadcaster and Kyodo News reported.
Tens of thousands of South Korean and U.S. troops are taking part in the "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" joint military drills, a largely computer-simulated exercise that runs for two weeks in the South. Hours later North Korea had said it was "carefully examining" plans to strike Guam.More news: Did Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Just Turn on Trump?
Tensions had eased since a harsh exchange of threats between Pyongyang and Washington after U.S. President Donald Trump had warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he would face "fire and fury" if he threatened the United States.
Though North Korea says it now has the ability to send missiles to the United States mainland, USA defense officials said these short-range missiles did not pose a threat to North America or Guam. The US ban on American citizens traveling to North Korea takes effect September 1.
Tillerson called North Korea's "restraint" pleasing and said it could open a pathway for dialogue in the near future.
Solid fuel missiles are faster and easier to deploy, and harder to catch before they launch because there's a lot less to be done in terms of launch preparation.More news: Get Ready: Whole Foods Prices Are Dropping Next Week!