North Korea claims to have launched two short-range ballistic missiles to simulate nuclear attacks on South Korean military targets.
Sources reported that the tests served as a warning against the deployment of strategic bombers to the region by the United States.
The missiles were reportedly launched at midnight off the east coast, according to South Korean media. The launches coincide with the annual military exercises conducted by Washington and Seoul, which always provoke the North.
Pyongyang has long criticized the combined exercises as a US war rehearsal.
North Korea's army stated that the missiles were launched Wednesday night as part of a "tactical nuclear strike drill simulating scorched earth strikes on major command centers and operational airfields" in South Korea.
The army stated that the purpose of the exercise was to send a clear message to adversaries who challenge them with military threats such as the deployment of strategic nuclear assets despite their repeated warnings.
The unification ministry of South Korea severely condemned Pyongyang for publicly declaring its intention to attack the South.
A ministry official said the North will face overwhelming countermeasures from South Korea, the US, and Japan as it gets obsessed with military threats and provocations.
Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, criticized the launches as a menace not only to Japan's peace and stability, but also to the international community.
This year, North Korea conducted a record number of weapons tests. The latest comes a day before the 11-day Ulchi Freedom Shield military exercises between South Korea and the United States conclude.
According to South Korean media, the defense exercises involved at least one US B-1B strategic bomber soaring above the Korean Peninsula.
According to state media, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observed an exercise on Tuesday that prepared his top commanders for an all-out conflict with the South.
According to the report, the exercise simulated repelling a sudden invasion and then initiating a counterattack to occupy "the entire territory of the southern half."
Kim Jong Un has repeatedly pledged to increase his country's production of nuclear warheads and development of more potent weapons despite UN sanctions.
After launching a record number of missiles in 2022, Pyongyang has continued to conduct regular missile tests this year, including those capable of reaching US territory.
It has also attempted, without success, to launch two space satellites in recent months. Meanwhile, the United States announced on Wednesday that Pyongyang was in "active" negotiations with Russia regarding a potential arms agreement.
In Pyongyang last month, the Russian defense minister was given a very public tour of North Korea's armaments.
The United States claims that Mr. Shoigu's travel was an attempt to convince North Korea to sell him weapons and ammunition.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, told reporters on Wednesday, that high-level discussions may continue in the coming months following these negotiations.
He said that now, among the potential deals, Russia would receive significant quantities and multiple types of munitions from North Korea, which the Russian military plans to use in Ukraine.
Pyongyang has repeatedly denied allegations that it has supplied Russia with armaments to aid in its invasion of Ukraine.