South Korea's top security officials on Saturday voiced "strong concern" over North Korea's launch of two projectiles presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea despite the end of its combined military training with the United States.
The South Korean officials urged the North to halt such acts of escalating military tensions on the Korean Peninsula during an emergency session of the National Security Council (NSC) standing committee, spokesperson of the Presidential Office here told Yonhap news agency.
The meeting began at 8:30 a.m. (local time), presided over by Chung Eui-yong, chief of the presidential national security office, shortly after the North lobbed two unidentified projectiles off its coast into the East Sea at 6:45 a.m. (local time) and 7:02 a.m. (local time).
The recent firing that marked the fifth round of the North's projectile launches this month was apparently conducted in a protest against the South Korea-US joint military exercise that ended earlier this week which North Korea had earlier denounced as a rehearsal for invasion.
The last missile firing came about a week ago on August 16.
Meanwhile, in Washington, a senior US government official was quoted as saying that Washington is aware of the latest missile launches and is closely monitoring the situation in cooperation with its allies.
On Friday, the North's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho lashed out at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for stating that the "toughest" sanctions will remain until North Korea denuclearizes, threatening that Pyongyang will try to remain "America's biggest threat" if the US continues to confront the North with sanctions, and it is ready for both dialogue and a standoff.
US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun is currently in Seoul for talks with senior officials here over joint efforts to resume working-level nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang.
The negotiations on the Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program have been stalled since the no-deal Hanoi summit in February. During their surprise meeting in the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom at the end of June, Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to resume nuclear talks, with Washington suggesting for a working-level dialogue.
( With inputs from ANI )