North Korea on Wednesday fired two ballistic missile from its east coast, U.S. and South Korean military officials said. At least one of the two attempts failed.
The twin launches, early Wednesday, were believed to be an intermediate-range Musudan missile, capable of reaching U.S. military bases in Asia and the Pacific.
North Korea unsuccessfully test-launched a similar missile three times in April. Another launch, most likely of the Musudan, failed in May.
Japan's military was placed on alert for a missile launch, and its navy and anti-missile Patriot batteries were instructed to shoot down any projectile headed for Japan, according to a government source.
The missile has a reported range of 3,000 to 4,000 kilometers which, if fired successfully, could reach targets in Japan, China and Guam.
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby again chided Pyongyang ahead of the test.
“This is the time for the DPRK to stop the provocations to work toward stability on the peninsula," Kirby said Tuesday. "These kinds of actions, if and when it happens again, do nothing to increase the security on the peninsula and fly in the face of their international obligations.”
The United Nations Security Council has banned North Korea from developing nuclear and ballistic missile technology.
China, the North's key ally, has urged the government of President Kim Jong Un to return to international talks and dismantle its nuclear program for economic assistance and security guarantees.
VOA's Steve Herman contributed to this report.