South Korea's military says North Korea fired 2 short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan on Wednesday in an attempt to show off its launching capabilities.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff says the North fired what it believes were Scud-type missiles at around 4 AM and 4:20 AM local time from in or around the southwestern province of Hwanghae.
Officials say both missiles were launched in a northeasterly direction and likely flew about 500 kilometers before falling into the sea.
South Korea's military says Wednesday's launches are the first from the area of Hwanghae in more than a decade.
North Korea fired ballistic missiles in March from somewhere north of Pyongyang across inland areas toward the Sea of Japan. Since late June, it has repeatedly launched Scud-type missiles and rockets.
South Korea's military says the North is apparently flaunting its ability to fire missiles at any time from any location.
South Korea is stepping up caution against more possible launches.
Japan's Defense Minister has criticized North Korea for launching short-range ballistic missiles over the Sea of Japan.
Itsunori Onodera is currently in the United States. He said he will be certain to discuss the issue with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel when they meet on Friday.
He referred to their countries opening a window of dialogue over the abductions of Japanese nationals. That includes Tokyo's easing of sanctions against Pyongyang.
Onodera said he wants the North Korean government to be fully aware that the missile launches are not in its interests.
Jul. 9, 2014 - Updated 05:37 UTC