North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the sea near Japan on Thursday, Japan's prime minister said, fuelling tensions ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and ramping up pressure on the new Biden administration in Washington.
Here are some reactions to the launch:
Yoji Koda, Former Admiral and Commander of the Japanese Fleet:
"North Korea wants to send a clear signal to the Biden Administration. One thing less discussed, though, is that today there is a South Korean-Russian event. It is the 30th anniversay of the start of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Russia. Yesterday was a big celebration day and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in Seoul. It is some signal to Russia and South Korea.
"I would say this is just the beginning of North Korean fervour. North Korea may gradually launch several types of missiles. North Korea will confirm the response of the United States and then the next attempt would say be intermediate with a range of 3,000 or 4,000 kilometres (1,865 or 2,485 miles) and then North Korea will launch long range (missiles)."
Harry Kazianis, Snr Director of Korean Studies, Center for the National Interest, Washington:
"This latest North Korean missile launch is most likely a reaction to U.S. President Joe Biden's downplaying and seeming to laugh off their weekend missile tests. The Kim regime, just like during the Trump years, will react to even the slightest of what they feel are any sort of loss of face or disparaging comments coming out of Washington. While Biden's comments and chuckle were clearly not meant to trigger a reaction, the North Koreans will use any pretext that is offered to raise the ante -- moving us closer and closer to the dark days of 2017.
Leif-eric Easley, Professor of International Studies at Ewha Womans University, Seoul:
"With its return to testing different types of missiles, Pyongyang is flirting with the limits of what it can get away with under UN Security Council Resolutions.
"The Moon government has doubled down on peace building engagement and the Biden administration is looking to complete a policy review before taking any major moves. Strategists in Tokyo worry that North Korea is taking provocative actions to undermine cooperation among Japan, South Korea and the United States. The three countries are trying to get on the same page about deterrence, sanctions and engagement.
"North Korea's military activities after reaffirming ties with Beijing raise questions about how China is complicit in sanctions evasion and may be enabling the Kim regime's threats to the region. This will increase calls in the U.S. and elsewhere to sanction Chinese firms involved in illicit trade."
Vipin Narang, Nuclear Affairs Expert, Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
"Every day that passes without a deal that tries to reduce the risks posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile arsenal is a day that it gets bigger and badder."