President Biden Leaves Asia, North Korea Launches Three Ballistic Missiles
North Korea's Hwasong-17 ICBM missile test launch some time ago. (Source: KCNA)

JAKARTA - North Korea fired three ballistic missiles off its east coast on Wednesday, Seoul's military said, just hours after US President Joe Biden concluded Asian visits to Japan and South Korea.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said three ballistic missile launches were fired in less than an hour from the Sunan area of North Korea's capital Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, Japan reported at least two launches, but acknowledged that there could be many more. One of the missiles flew about 750 km (465 miles) to a maximum altitude of 50 km and appeared to be capable of changing its trajectory in flight, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said. Another missile flew about 300 km and reached a maximum altitude of 550 km, he said.

Japanese broadcaster NHK said the missile appeared to have fallen outside Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Separately, the US military's Indo-Pacific Command said it was aware of "several" launches. They highlight the destabilizing impact of the DPRK's illicit weapons program, but pose no immediate threat, he said in a statement, using the initials of North Korea's official name.

A White House official said President Biden, who left Japan late Tuesday, had been notified of the launch and would continue to receive updates.

US and South Korean officials recently warned that North Korea appears poised for another weapons test, possibly during Biden's visit, which will be his first trip to Asia as president.

North Korea has carried out a series of missile launches this year, ranging from hypersonic weapons to its largest ever test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time in nearly five years. North Korea also appears to be preparing to test nuclear weapons for the first time since 2017.

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