Seoul tested a domestically built submarine-launched ballistic missile hours after rival North Korea fired two ballistic missiles toward the sea.

People watch a TV screen showing a news programme on North Korea's missiles using file footage, in Seoul, South Korea. September 15, 2021.
People watch a TV screen showing a news programme on North Korea's missiles using file footage, in Seoul, South Korea. September 15, 2021. (AP)

South Korea has carried out its first underwater-launched missile test, hours after rival North Korea fired two ballistic missiles toward the sea.

President Moon Jae-in’s observed the test of a domestically built submarine-launched ballistic missile on Wednesday afternoon.

His office said the missile fired from a 3,000-tonne-class submarine flew a previously set distance before hitting a designated target.

The announcement followed two North Korean ballistic missile launches detected by South Korea earlier on Wednesday.

READ MORE: North Korean ballistic missiles pose ‘no immediate threat’ to US, allies

The built-up in North

North Korea fired two ballistic missiles toward the sea in defiance of UN resolutions, the second weapons test in several days that experts say shows it’s pressing ahead with its arms build-up plans while nuclear diplomacy with the United States remains stalled.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the missiles, launched from central North Korea, flew about 800 kilometers (497 miles) on an apogee of 60 kilometers (37 miles) before landing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. 

Japan’s coast guard said no ships or aircraft reported damage from the missiles.

The launches were a violation of UN Security Council resolutions that bar North Korea from engaging in any ballistic missile activities. 

But the UN council typically doesn't slap fresh sanctions on North Korea when it launches short-range missiles, like the ones fired Wednesday.

READ MORE: N. Korea will have 242 nuclear missiles by 2027

Source: AP