Two mid-range ballistic rockets flew 650 kilometers from an area north of Pyongyang, towards Japan before splashing into the East Sea early Wednesday morning.
North Korea has been firing missiles into its eastern waters with regularity over the past two months, but this one was identified by South Korea's defense ministry as a Nodong missile, which represents a change.
They have a maximum range of 12-hundred kilometers, which means they can reach not just South Korea, but Japan as well.
Given the more dangerous nature of the missiles, the defense ministry held an unusually early press briefing Wednesday morning to strongly condemn the move.
"North Korea's ballistic missile launch is an outright violation of UN resolutions and it is an act of provocation against South Korea and the international community."
The launch of the Nodong missiles is the first in nearly five years, .. and took place at around two thirty am Korea time, a matter of hours after the leaders of South Korea, the U.S., and Japan met to discuss North Korea's nuclear issues, on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.
The three had promised for a more united front against threats posed by North Korea's nuclear program, and the launch is being seen as an apparent protest against growing calls in the international community for the state's denuclearization.
The launch also falls on the fourth anniversary of the sinking of a South Korean warship that left 46 dead.
While Seoul blames the attack on North Korea, Pyongyang denies the charge.
The North has launched a series of shorter-range rocket launches over the past two months which were seen as an act of defiance against the annual joint military drills between South Korea and the United States.
Yoo Li-an, Arirang News.