North Korea nuclear program
North Korea nuclear program iStock

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, according to a report in the AFP news agency.

The launches, part of a record-breaking blitz of weapons tests this year by North Korea, came after Seoul's spy agency warned that Pyongyang was close to conducting another nuclear test.

South Korea's military said it had "detected two short-range ballistic missiles fired from the Sunan area in Pyongyang", reported AFP.

The missiles flew "around 360 kilometers (223 miles) at an altitude of 30 kilometers at the speed of Mach 6", Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, adding that it was analyzing the details of the launches.

"Our military has reinforced monitoring and surveillance and is maintaining utmost readiness in close coordination with the United States," it added.

Japan also confirmed the launches, with deputy defense minister Toshiro Ino saying North Korea's recent spate of missile tests were "unprecedented" in frequency.

North Korea’s test comes just days after it fired at least one ballistic missile toward its eastern sea and ahead of a visit to South Korea by US Vice President Kamala Harris.

North Korea has tested more than 30 ballistic weapons in 2022, including its first intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017, as it continues to expand its military capabilities amid a prolonged stalemate in nuclear diplomacy.

In May, it fired a volley of missiles, including possibly its largest intercontinental ballistic missile.

In July, Pyongyang fired what appeared to be multiple rocket launchers.

The United States and South Korea have warned of a “swift response” if North Korea conducts a nuclear test, but have also offered talks as a way out.

Earlier this month, North Korea passed a law officially enshrining its nuclear weapons policies. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the new legislation makes the country’s nuclear status "irreversible" and bars any negotiation on denuclearization.