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N Korea at crossroads

US confirms North Korea launched multiple ballistic missiles

Apparent violation of Security Council terms threatens denuclearization talks

This photo supplied by the North's Korean Central News Agency appears to show one of the latest missile launches.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON/TOKYO -- The U.S. Defense Department has confirmed that projectiles launched by North Korea on Thursday were ballistic missiles.

The Pentagon later that day said multiple ballistic missiles flew more than 300 km eastward and landed in the ocean, Reuters reported. Since launching such missiles is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, Pyongyang's move is likely to increase tensions with Washington amid an impasse in denuclearization negotiations.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump said "nobody is happy" about the launches. "I know they want to negotiate," he told reporters. "But I don't think they're ready to negotiate."

Trump also said the U.S. is "taking a good look and we'll see."

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Washington would continue to pursue diplomacy with North Korea while ensuring "the readiness we need in case diplomacy fails."

In Tokyo on Friday, Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said the North's projectiles were deemed to be "short-range ballistic missiles." He stressed that any launch of a ballistic missile is "clearly a violation of the Security Council resolutions and is deeply regrettable."

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