Has North Korea Just Tested a New Missile? Latest Device Covered More Than 400 Miles

North Korea has reportedly conducted more missile tests, launching two short-range missiles that flew some 400 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan.

The tests were the first in two months, and come as negotiators from the U.S. and North Korea attempt to restart long-stalled talks on denuclearization and sanctions relief for the authoritarian regime in Pyongyang.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles were fired from mobile launchers near the eastern coastal town of Wonson, the Associated Press reported. The two weapons flew for about 270 miles and 690 miles, respectively before landing off the eastern coast in the Sea of Japan. An anonymous military official told AP that the missiles reached a maximum altitude of 30 miles.

A Joint Chiefs of Staff official also said the missiles appeared to be a new weapon that had not previously undergone launch tests, the BBC noted. South Korea's Ministry of Defense said it considered the launch "a military threat and an action undermining efforts to alleviate tensions on the Korean Peninsula," CNN reported.

The launch is the first test since President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom last month and agreed to resume denuclearization talks, which have been in the doldrums since the failure of a summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February.

But almost immediately the talks were under threat again, as the North warned it may withdraw from negotiations over joint U.S.-South Korean military drills planned for next month. It appears Kim is attempting to apply more pressure with the latest missile launches, which followed a well-publicized visit to view an under-construction submarine earlier this week.

Harry J. Kazianis, the senior director of Korean studies at the Center for the National Interest, told Newsweek by email that Pyongyang is "clearly upset that the U.S. and South Korea are conducting joint military exercises."

Kazianis noted that the North is refusing to set a date for working-level talks with Washington and won't even accept food aid from the South, despite grappling with extensive drought and subsequent food shortages.

Adding the fresh weapons test to the equation "will surely increase tensions," Kazianis said. "We should not be shocked by this move and, in fact, we should have seen it coming."

North Korea was widely condemned after its last round of missile tests in May, though President Donald Trump downplayed that incident.

The president claimed that test did not violate a United Nations resolution—passed in 2006 and reinforced by a second in 2009—imposing sanctions on North Korea and demanding the nation "not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile."

Trump said that while his "people think it could have been a violation… I view it differently." Both National Security Advisor John Bolton and the State Department said the May test was in violation of the U.N. resolution.

North Korea, missile, test, new
A woman walks past a television news screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea on July 25, 2019. JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty