North Korea launched two ballistic missiles on Thursday local time for the first time in a nearly year.
“We are aware of North Korean missile launches this morning into the East Sea. We will continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with our allies and partners,” a Department of Defense spokesperson wrote in an email to the Washington Examiner.
“This activity highlights the threat that North Korea’s illicit weapons program poses to its neighbors and the international community,” the DOD representative added. “The U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad.”
The launch comes nearly one year after North Korea last launched two cruise missiles, a move Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said was not “particularly provocative” at the time.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also confirmed the launch Thursday morning.
“The missile launches are a threat to the peace and security of Japan and the region and a violation of United Nations’ resolutions,” Suga said.
North Korea also test-fired two short-range cruise missiles over the weekend, South Korean defense officials said on Wednesday.
The weekend test did not violate United Nations resolutions, which restrict North Korea from developing or launching ballistic missile technologies.
Following the cruise missile launch on Sunday, U.S. officials downplayed the event as President Joe Biden’s administration is in its beginning stages for a strategic plan to re-engage Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons and long-range missile program.
The Washington Examiner reached out to the White House but did not immediately receive a response.