People watch a news report on North Korea firing several land-to-ship missiles off its east coast, at a railway station in Seoul. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

North Korea fired several land-to-ship missiles off its east coast on Thursday, less than a week after the UN Security Council added to sanctions on the reclusive state for its nuclear and missile program.

“North Korea launched multiple projectiles that appear to be short-range land-to-ship cruise missiles today morning off east coast from the region of Wonsan,” South Korea’s Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been briefed on the latest launch of missiles, which flew about 200 km (124 miles), the military said, adding that Seoul and Washington were analysing the launches for further information.

This is the fourth missile test by North Korea since Moon took office on May 10 pledging to engage in dialogue with Pyongyang. He has said sanctions and pressure alone have failed to deter the North in its nuclear and missile development.

The anti-ship missile tests come as the US Navy adds to its presence in waters in the region.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the South China Sea on April 9. Photo: US Navy/Reuters

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz recently sailed from San Diego for the Pacific, according to a US Navy statement. The aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan are already in the region.

The Nimitz will sail with the guided-missile destroyers USS Kidd and USS Shoup from their designated carrier strike group, as well as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Howard and USS Pinckney, and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Princeton, according to the statement.

A report by Business Insider estimated that the US has three aircraft carriers, two cruisers, and 12 destroyers simultaneously operating in the Pacific, with Japanese and South Korean navy ships nearby.

Under third-generation leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been conducting missile tests at an unprecedented pace to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the mainland United States.

The isolated country, which has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the beginning of 2016 in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, says the program is necessary to counter US aggression.

In three earlier launches, it tested different kinds of ballistic missiles, two medium-to-long range missiles as well as a short-range Scud class weapon.

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