A days after a similar launch that the nuclear-armed North described as a warning to the South over planned joint military drills with the United States, North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles early on Wednesday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The two devices were fired from the Wonsan area on the east coast at dawn and flew around 250 kilometres, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

“We stress a series of missile launches do not help ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula and urge the North to refrain from such acts,” they said in a statement.

The missile launch was the second such firing less than a week, after Pyongyang also fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on last Thursday.

Pyongyang and Washington are engaged in a long-running diplomatic process over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes that has seen three high-profile encounters between their leaders in the space of a year.

Pyongyang has warned the negotiations could be derailed by Washington and Seoul’s refusal to scrap the annual manoeuvres between their forces.

North Korea has also threatened to pull out of denuclearization talks with the United States if the military exercises go ahead, saying they would break a promise made by Trump to Kim Jong Un when the two leaders met at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas in June.

The launches have helped dampen optimism that might have arisen out of that meeting and they underlined the challenges ahead.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had supervised the demonstrations of a new type of tactical guided weapon as a warning to South Korea to stop importing high-tech weapons and conducting joint military exercises with the United States, according to reports.

Kim Jong-un said, “We cannot but develop nonstop super-powerful weapon systems to remove the potential and direct threats to the security of our country that exist in the South”.