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N. Korea tested new missile type: Japan defense chief

In this Aug. 24, 2019 photo, Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya speaks to reporters in Tokyo after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said Tuesday two missiles North Korea test-fired last week were of a new type.

While stopping short of elaborating on his ministry's analysis, Iwaya told a press conference the two short-range ballistic missiles launched Saturday morning reached an altitude of about 100 kilometers.

"North Korea is likely to be developing missiles which follow an irregular and lower-than-usual flight path" to make it harder for Japan and others to intercept them, he said.

"There is a good chance of (North Korea) applying technologies of short-range missiles to longer-range ones" with the aim of making all missiles hard to detect before launch, he added.

The launch of the two missiles came after South Korea's decision Friday to scrap a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan raised concern about security cooperation between the two key allies of the United States.

On Saturday, Iwaya criticized the launch as "a clear violation" of U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban Pyongyang from testing such missiles.

During his visit to France for a Group of Seven summit, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was unhappy about the missile tests, but that their launch did not violate any agreement.

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