North Korea fired 2 short-range ballistic missiles in latest launch, South Korean official says

A South Korean official told NBC News their military is monitoring the situation for additional launches while maintaining "readiness."

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By Stella Kim, Doha Madani and Courtney Kube

SEOUL — North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea Wednesday morning, the second launch of missiles in a week, a South Korean military official said.

The short-range ballistic missiles were fired at 5:06 a.m. and 5:27 a.m. from the northeastern coast of the country and into the sea, the South Korean military official said.

Two U.S. officials told NBC News that the projectiles were short-range missiles that did not pose a threat to the U.S. or its allies.

Last week, North Korea fired at least two short-range missiles in the first reported launching of projectiles 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.

South Korea's presidential office said in a statement of the previous launch that South Korea and the U.S. found both were a new type of short-range ballistic missiles.

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"We are surveilling against any additional missile launches while maintaining military preparedness," the South Korean military official said of the most recent launch, calling the action by the North “not helpful to the easing of tension on the Korean peninsula."

The White House was aware of the reports and is monitoring the situation, a senior administration official said.

A North Korean official told a U.S. National Security Council counterpart last week that working-level talks to revive denuclearization efforts with North Korea would start very soon, a senior U.S. administration official said on Tuesday.

Trump seemed to downplay the missile tests in a recent interview on Fox News.

Last week, in a phone interview with host Sean Hannity, Trump said that North Korea officials "really haven’t tested missiles, other than, you know, smaller ones — which is something that lots test.”

“But I think with North Korea we’ve been doing very well, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to continue,” Trump said on the program.

Kim last year announced the country was suspending nuclear and long-range missile tests, claiming further testing was unnecessary. North Korea has conducted six suspected nuclear tests so far, the most recent in September 2017.

Trump and Kim met in Vietnam in their second meeting in February, but the talks collapsed. At the time, Trump indicated that the discussions stalled due to Kim's demand that all sanctions be lifted in exchange for concessions on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The two leaders met at the DMZ in late June, and during that meeting Trump stepped into North Korean soil and announced that the two countries would try and relaunch nuclear talks.

Kim reported from Seoul, Madani from New York, Kube from Washington.

Reuters contributed.