South Korean military officials say North Korea has test-fired two medium-range missiles off its east coast into the Sea of Japan, once again defying a United Nations ban on missile testing by the communist state.
South Korea's defense ministry said the SCUD class missiles were fired Sunday from the North's east coast and flew about 500 kilometers before splashing into waters between North Korea and Japan.
Tokyo lodged what it called a "stern protest" with Pyongyang over the tests. But the Japanese government said it would go ahead with official talks with North Korea set for Tuesday in Beijing over the North's abduction of Japanese nationals during the Cold War.
Sunday's missile launch comes two days after the North tested what it said were "cutting-edge ultra-precision tactical guided missiles."
The test also came before a visit to Seoul on Thursday by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will meet with President Park Geun-hye.
It will be Xi's first visit to the Korean peninsula. China is North Korea's sole major ally, but it is the first time in almost two decades that a sitting Chinese leader has visited South Korea before having been to the North.
North Korea frequently uses missile tests as a reaction to criticism or military exercises from South Korea or the United States.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.