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SEOUL, March 10. /TASS/. North Korean military forces fired two short-range ballistic missiles from its eastern coast into the Sea of Japan on early Thursday, South Korea’s Yonyhap news agency reported.
The news agency reported citing the country’s Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) that the two missiles were fired from North Korea’s Hwanghae Province and after flying a distance of some 500 kilometers (over 310 miles) fell into the sea to the northeast of the country’s eastern port city of Wonsan.
The short-range ballistic missiles were launched at 5:20 a.m. local time (20:30 GMT Wednesday), according to the agency.
"The military is keeping close tabs on the situation and prepared to deal with any North Korean provocations," Yonhap quoted the JCS as saying.
Tokyo has resolutely condemned North Korea’s launches of two short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday morning, while Japan’s Defense Ministry announced that further provocations of such nature were possible on behalf of Pyongyang, Kyodo news agency reported.
"It is extremely regrettable," Kyodo cited Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida as saying. "Japan will continue to coordinate with related countries and take all possible measures to gather information."
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said that "Further provocative act cannot be ruled out," according to Kyodo.
Last week North Korea also held several launches of short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, shortly after the UN Security Council announced a new set of sanctions against the country.
On March 2, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution, which considerably toughened sanctions against North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s continued nuclear tests and the launch of a carrier rocket with a satellite.
The document denounced the acts at the issue, which violated the four previous UN Security Council resolutions Nos. 1718, 1874, 2087 and 2094 passed between 2006 and 2013.
The resolution banned the imports of coal, iron ore, titanium, vanadium, gold and other precious metals from North Korea, and imposed embargo on the delivery of all types of aviation fuel to the country. The document obliged also all countries to examine cargoes bound to North Korea on the subject of prohibited goods and technologies.
The UN Security Council ruled to toughen arms embargo on North Korea as well as to expand financial sanctions on the country’s banking sector.
The document also widened its previously imposed embargo on the delivery of luxury items to North Korea. In particular, the embargo now applies to expensive watches, snowmobiles and yachts.
The North Korean authorities announced on February 7 that they had launched a carrier rocket with the satellite Kwanmenson (the Bright Star). A month before the launch, Pyongyang held the fourth underground nuclear test over the past ten years.
The UN Security Council resolutions prohibit Pyongyang from engaging in any activity linked with nuclear technologies and the development of ballistic missiles.