The United States says North Korea test- launched five missiles, including a long-range missile, early Wednesday defying international warnings. The long-range missile failed less than a minute after take-off and four shorter-range missiles landed in the Sea of Japan.
A U.S. State Department official told VOA Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who is the United States representative to the stalled six-party talks nuclear talks on North Korea, has been discussing the developments with his counterparts. A senior White House official said Hill will fly to the region Wednesday.
The White House official said President Bush was notified shortly after the test firings, and that he is in close consultations with U.S. allies. The official called the testing a "provocation" but said it poses "no immediate threat to the United States".
The South Korean government has called a ministerial meeting on Wednesday to discuss the missile launches.
Wednesday's launches were North Korea's first missile firings in several years. The United States and Japan have been warning that a ballistic missile launch would lead Washington and Tokyo to consider punitive measures.
A commentary published by North Korea's official news agency earlier this week said Pyongyang will respond with an "annihilating" strike with nuclear weapons if it is attacked.