North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong UnReuters

North Korea said on Thursday night that the two missiles launched this week toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, were intended to send a warning to South Korea, CNN reported, citing North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The launches were "personally organized" by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "as part of the power demonstration to send a solemn warning to the South Korean military", said KCNA.

The report accused the South Korean military of holding "military exercises in defiance of the repeated warnings from the DPRK", perhaps alluding to the July 20 announcement that the US and South Korea will conduct joint military exercises next month.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry has previously called the US-South Korean drills a "rehearsal of war."

The US and South Korea have suspended or scaled back a number of recent joint exercises as part of an effort to ease tensions with Pyongyang.

According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un was "gratified by the direct confirmation and conviction of the rapid anti-firepower capability of the tactical guided weapon system," and warned "the south Korean chief executive should not make a mistake of ignoring the warning from Pyongyang."

South Korea has already said that it views the launch "as a military threat" and one designed to undermine progress toward stability on the Korean Peninsula.

The North Korean test came as talks between the US and North Korea on denuclearization continue to stall. The talks broke down after the failed summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in February in Vietnam.

Trump abruptly ended that summit with Kim, explaining that, while "we had a productive time," no deal was signed.

Trump met with Kim again last month, becoming the first US president to step onto North Korean soil at the demilitarized zone. He said the two leaders agreed to start working-level talks on a denuclearization deal.