North Korea has launched what appears to have been medium-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, according to a U.S. defense official.
The official said the U.S. tracked the two missles from North Korea, and it appears they were launched from a road-mobile launcher. Officials were gathering additional information that was expected to be released by U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Pacific Command.
The official said neither missile launch was considered a threat to the U.S. or its allies.
from South Korea's joint chiefs of staff said a missile had flown about 500 miles before crashing off the North's east coast Friday.
"We are closely monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. "We call again on North Korea to refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its international commitments and obligations."
The launch comes days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered
that his country test a nuclear warhead as well as ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
President Obama on Wednesday signed an executive order tightening sanctions
on the isolated nation in response to its nuclear test in January and missile launch in February.
"The U.S. and the global community will not tolerate North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities, and we will continue to impose costs on North Korea until it comes into compliance with its international obligations," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said announcing the sanctions.