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North Korea fired at least 2 short-range missiles, U.S. officials say

This would be the first launching of projectiles reported since President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the demilitarized zone.

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By Stella Kim, Courtney Kube and Reuters

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired two short-range missiles early Thursday local time, according to U.S. and South Korean officials.

South Korea's presidential office said in a statement that "a meticulous assessment by South Korea and the U.S." found both devices were a new type of short-range ballistic missiles.

The missiles were launched from an area near Wonsan, on North Korea's eastern coast. They landed in the sea after traveling 430 and 267 miles respectively, according to a South Korean military official, who is authorized to speak with the media but not named because of government policy.

Two U.S. officials said there was no indication the missiles posed a threat to the United States or its allies. One of the U.S. officials referred to the launch as "an expected show of force."

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Choi Hyun-soo, South Korea's defense ministry spokesperson, called the launches "a military threat that undermines efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula."

In response, the South would "strengthen surveillance preparedness under the cooperation with the U.S. and maintain close communications," Choi told a briefing.

It was the first launch reported since President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the end of June at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas.

Kim made no secret that he was staying in the area at the time the missiles were launched, Kim Joon-rak, the public affairs chief of South Korea's defense ministry, told a briefing. He "openly shared his activities and we are paying special attention to related situations," he said.

North Korea's last weapons testing was in May and included both short-range missiles as well as smaller rockets. At the time, the North Korean leader oversaw the first flight of a previously untested weapon — a relatively small, fast missile experts believe will be easier to hide, launch and maneuver in flight.

On Tuesday, state news agency KCNA reported Kim inspected a large, newly built submarine, accompanied by missile program leaders. It potentially signaled continued development of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program.

Denuclearization talks between North Korea and the U.S. have stalled after a second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam in February broke down.

Kim reported from Seoul, Kube reported from Washington.