North Korea launched two ballistic missiles early Friday morning, according to reports.
One, believed to be a Rodong model, flew about 500 miles across North Korea before falling into a stretch of ocean within Japan's air defense identification zone, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported. A second missile blew up midair.
Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe lodged a formal complaint with the country through it's Beijing embassy, Reuters reported.
"Japan strongly demands North Korea to exercise self-restraint and will take all necessary measures, such as warning and surveillance activity, to be able to respond to any situations," Abe told the Japanese parliament.
The launch came after the U.S. on Wednesday placed new sanctions on the authoritarian regime. The sanctions were a response to the launch of another ballistic missile by North Korea on Feb. 7, as well as a nuclear test on Jan. 6, the White House said in a statement.
"The U.S. and the global community will not tolerate North Korea's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities, and we will continue to impose costs on North Korea until it comes into compliance with its international obligations," the Obama administration said.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday he was aware of reports of the new launch, and that the U.S. was monitoring developments in the region.
"We call again on North Korea to refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its international commitments and obligations," he said in a statement.
Last week, North Korean state media reported that during a missile launch test, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un spoke out against the U.S. and South Korea's joint military exercises.
"We remain unperturbed in face of the enemies' any dangerous saber-rattling under our eyes, but if they destroy even a single tree or a blade of grass in our inviolable territory, I will issue a prompt order to launch attack with all military strike means including nuclear weapons and strike the Park regime and hordes of the puppet military with deadly baptism of fire so that they may not exist any longer," he said, according to North Korean state media.
The dictator also posed with a mock-up of a "miniature nuclear warhead."
North Korean state media did not immediately confirm a missile firing, but it on Thursday defended the earlier satellite launch.
"The U.S. should give up its sinister attempt to deprive the sovereign state of its independent and legitimate right and immediately stop its brazen-faced action against satellite launches for peaceful purposes," KCNA said.
Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at email@example.com.
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