South Korean and United States intelligence authorities are analyzing the launches for additional information.
The South Korean military said it has strengthened its surveillance and monitoring of North Korea while working closely with the US on maintaining its defensive readiness.
Japan’s Coast Guard said it believes the two missiles were launched five minutes apart, at 12:38 p.m. and 12:43 p.m. local time (11:38 p.m. and 11:43 p.m. ET).
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the North Korean projectiles are believed to have fallen into waters outside its exclusive economic zone.
North Korea is barred from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons under international law. Previous such tests have been met with international opprobrium and sanctions from the United Nations Security Council.
Cruise missiles are propelled by jet engines. Much like an airplane, they stay closer to the ground, making them harder to detect. Most cruise missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
Ballistic missiles by comparison are powered only for a short portion of their flight. They are fired on an arcing path that for longer range versions takes them outside of Earth’s atmosphere, and they can handle heavier payloads such as nuclear warheads.