Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backed US President Donald Trump after South Korean authorities said North Korea fired the unidentified short-range missiles on Saturday morning.
The White House has said it is “monitoring” the situation.
Seoul said the North’s missiles were fired from the city of Wonsan on the east coast about 9am (10am AEST).
The South initially reported a single missile was fired, but later issued a statement that said “several projectiles” had been launched and that they flew up to 200 kilometres before splashing into the sea toward the northeast, reported AP.
People on a street in Seoul, South Korea, could not tear their eyes from a news program showing a North Korean weapons launch on Saturday. Picture: AP/Ahn Young-joonsSource:AP
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un during a recent trip to the Primorsky Krai region of Russia. Picture: Alexander Safronov/Press Office of the Primorye Territory Administration via AP.Source:AP
North Korea has reportedly launched a number of missiles from its east coast city of Wonsan. Picture: Google Maps.Source:Supplied
Japan’s Defence Ministry said the missiles had not reached anywhere near the country’s coast and that Japan is not facing any security threat. The ministry said it has not detected signs that any of the North Korean missiles reached in or around Japan’s territory or its 320 kilometre exclusive economic zone.
South Korea’s military has bolstered its surveillance in case there are additional weapons launches, and South Korean and US authorities are analysing the details. If it’s confirmed that the North fired banned ballistic missiles, it will be the first such launch since the November 2017 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
That year saw a string of increasingly powerful weapons tests from the North and a belligerent response from President Trump that had many in the region fearing war.
The firing on Saturday comes amid a diplomatic breakdown that has followed the failed summit earlier this year between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over the North’s pursuit of a nuclear arsenal that can target the US mainland and parts of Australia.
(A missile test in July 2017 with a Hwasong-14 rocket being launched at an undisclosed place in North Korea. Picture: AFP/KCNA.Source:AFP
When asked this morning if North Korea’s truce with the United States is crumbling, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison took the opportunity to support the US President.
“I really commend President Trump on trying to address that issue. He hasn’t, I think, raised expectations unreasonably. He’s being very honest that this was going to be difficult. And I would only continue to encourage him to take the steps he is taking to ensure that he brings stability to that part of the world.”
Yang UK, a senior research fellow at the Korea Defence and Security Forum, told AAP the fired projectiles are a sure sign of tension between the two nations.
“It is an expression of the North’s frustration over stalled talks with the United States. It is a message that it could return to the previous confrontational mode if there is no breakthrough in the stalemate,” he said.
A few weeks ago, North Korea staged a tactical guided weapons firing test, according to state media agency KCNA which said Mr Kim had praised the weapon’s capabilities.
“The development and completion of this weapons system will be a great historic event in strengthening the combat capability of the People’s Army,” he said, according to KCNA.
Following the most recent missile launch, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said “We are aware of North Korea’s actions tonight. We will continue to monitor as necessary