North Korea fired multiple ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, according to neighboring countries.
Japan reported the launch Thursday evening local time and these reports were later corroborated by South Korean military officials.
“North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile into the East Sea,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Thursday evening. Officials later stated it appeared to be at least two projectiles.
The missiles’ launch follows days of collaborative military drills by South Korean and Japanese forces near the demilitarized zone separating the Koreas. The exercises were run with live-fire ammunition, according to reports.
The North Korean Ministry of National Defense responded to the drills by saying it “strongly denounces the provocative and irresponsible moves of the puppet military authorities escalating the military tension in the region despite repeated warnings, and warns them solemnly.”
It has become increasingly common in recent years for Pyongyang to fire test missiles into the surrounding sea in retaliation to military exercises near its territory.
These mutual provocations have deteriorated relationships in East Asia even further.
Japan extended a standing order to shoot down any North Korean projectile within the island nation’s territory on Sunday.
The Japanese Defense Ministry made the decision after Pyongyang’s previously announced window for test launching satellites ended.
The satellite rocket launched from North Korea in May put neighboring South Korea and Japan on high alert before ultimately ending in failure.
State media reported that the rocket carrying the satellite crashed into waters off the Korean Peninsula’s western coast after it lost thrust following the separation of its first and second stages.
Pyongyang said scientists were examining the cause of the failure.