SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, the North’s second weapons test in less than a week.
The missiles were launched from near Wonsan, a coastal town east of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, the South Korean military said in a brief statement. They flew 155 miles to the northeast, reaching a height of 18 miles, before splashing into the sea, it said.
South Korean officials declined to offer further details, pending analysis of flight and other data together with their United States allies.
“North Korea’s recent series of missile tests does not help efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and we urge the North to stop this type of act,” the South Korean military said.
North Korea launched two short-range missiles from near Wonsan last Thursday. Those missiles flew 267 miles and 430 miles, before landing in waters between North Korea and Japan. North Korea called them a “new-type tactical guided weapon” that it said would be hard to intercept because it could glide at a low altitude and could be maneuvered during its flight. But South Korean officials later identified them as a new type of short-range ballistic missile, similar to Russia’s Iskander ballistic missile.
Japan said the North Korean projectiles launched Wednesday did not land in its territorial waters, indicating that they were short-range weapons.
North Korea’s resumption of weapons testing has come amid stalled efforts to resume talks with the United States on ending its nuclear weapons program.
President Trump met with the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, in the Demilitarized Zone on June 30, and both leaders agreed to resume staff-level dialogue between their governments. But such talks have yet to take place.
North Korea has recently indicated that if the United States and South Korea did not cancel a joint military exercise planned for next month, it would scuttle efforts to resume negotiations with Washington and even resume nuclear and long-range missile tests. Analysts said that its recent short-range weapons tests were a warning that if its demand was not met, the North might escalate tensions with longer-range missile tests.
Weeks before Mr. Kim met with Mr. Trump in Singapore in June last year in the first-ever summit meeting between North Korea and the United States, Mr. Kim announced a moratorium on his country’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. Mr. Trump has since repeatedly touted the absence of such tests as his biggest diplomatic achievement in dealing with Mr. Kim.
With North Korea’s latest tests involving short-range missiles, Mr. Kim did not abandon his moratorium. But they violated United Nations Security Council resolutions that bar the country from developing or testing ballistic missile technologies, South Korean officials said.
Mr. Trump downplayed the significance of the North’s recent missile tests last Thursday, calling them “smaller ones” and repeating that he was still getting along “very well” with Mr. Kim.
“My relationship with Kim Jong-un is a very good one, as I’m sure you’ve seen,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “I like him; he likes me. We’ll see what happens.”
The Singapore meeting ended with a vague agreement in which Mr. Trump committed to building new relations and providing security guarantees for North Korea in return for Mr. Kim’s agreement to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
But when the leaders met again in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February, they failed to agree on how to implement their earlier deal.
The Hanoi talks collapsed when Mr. Kim demanded that Washington lift all major sanctions against his country in return for the dismantling of its nuclear complex in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, the capital. Mr. Trump insisted on a more comprehensive breaking up of the North’s nuclear programs, including its nuclear weapons and missiles.
Mr. Kim has since said he would give Washington until the end of the year to return to the negotiating table with “new calculations.”
“This type of saber rattling is not threatening, but rather is intended to get the attention of North Korea’s more powerful neighbors,” Daniel L. Davis, a senior fellow with the Defense Priorities research institute in Washington, said by email about the Wednesday tests. “Kim Jong-un wants to negotiate and signal his ability to take actions the U.S. and others don’t like in an effort to speed up diplomacy.”
“There’s an opening to negotiate for freezes and potentially rollbacks in exchange for limited sanctions relief,” Mr. Davis added. “But unless Washington is willing to make such trade-offs and normalize relations, expect Kim to continue developing weapons and testing them.”