This picture taken on February 8, 2019 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un delivering a speech during his visit at the Ministry of People's Armed Forces for the 71st founding anniversary of the Korean People's army in Pyongyang. Image Credit: KNS

SEOUL: North Korea fired two "unidentified" projectiles into the sea on Thursday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, after warnings from Pyongyang over military exercises between Washington and Seoul next month.

The North has warned the war games could affect the planned resumption of denuclearisation talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

The North "fired one unidentified projectile at 5:34 am and the other at 5:57 am, from Wonsan areas into the East Sea, and they flew around 430 kilometers (267 miles)," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

"Our military is closely monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture."

"Extremely regrettable"

North Korea fired "projectiles" that landed outside Japanese waters, Japan's defence minister said Thursday, calling the latest launches by Pyongyang "extremely regrettable".

"We have confirmed so far that they did not reach our country's territory or exclusive economic zone," Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters after South Korea reported two "projectile" launches.

"If they were ballistic missiles, it violates UN resolutions... These recent cases of them firing projectiles are extremely regrettable," Iwaya said.

Pyongyang last fired short-range missiles on May 9.

In Washington a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP: "I can confirm that it was... short-range."

Pyongyang last fired short-range missiles on May 9, which US President Donald Trump called "very standard stuff" that, he said, had not affected his relationship with the North's leader Kim Jong Un.

Kim and Trump agreed to a resumption of dialogue at an impromptu June 30 meeting they held in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas.

Following that meeting, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said working-level talks would probably start in mid-July.

But last week, North Korea issued a warning over the military drills, which have been held for years and were scaled down to ease tensions with the nuclear-armed state.

The North condemned the exercises as "blatant pressure" and a "violation of the spirit" of the joint statement Trump and Kim signed at their first summit in Singapore last year.

Vague words

The North even hinted it could reconsider its moratorium on nuclear testing because of the drills, although the US State Department had remained upbeat over commitments made by Kim and Trump during the DMZ encounter and at a February summit in Vietnam.

US President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jongun at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarised Zone, South Korea. Image Credit: AP

At their first summit in Singapore in June 2018 the two adopted a vaguely worded statement on "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" and agreed to "establish new US-DPRK relations".

But the failure to reach an agreement over relief from US sanctions, and what the North was willing to give in return, led to the collapse of the leaders' second summit in Hanoi.

Tensions rose in May, during the standstill in negotiations between Trump and Kim, when North Korea fired short-range missiles for the first time since November 2017.

"I don't consider that a breach of trust at all. And, you know, at some point I may. But at this point no," Trump said in an interview with Politico at the time.

Asked on Tuesday whether any meetings were scheduled with the North, Trump said: "No, we just have a very good relationship. And probably they would like to meet and we'll see what happens."

"There was a little correspondence recently, very positive correspondence with North Korea."

He said there had been "no nuclear testing, there's no missile testing, there's no nothing."