At the risk of inflaming already tense relations with the United States and regional neighbors, the North launched the missiles from Gangwon Province around 06:49 (21.49 GMT), the JCS said in a statement carried by the local news agency, Yonhap.

As is customary, Seoul’s presidential office called a National Security Council meeting in response to the test.

The U.S. Pacific Command assessed that there were “three short-range ballistic missile launches,” which either failed in flight or exploded.

Pyongyang is barred from testing ballistic missiles, and was recently hit with strengthened United Nations Security Council sanctions for launching a pair of ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) last month.

Saturday marked North Korea’s first provocation since threatening a “merciless” response to an ongoing military drill involving South Korean and American troops.

The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said earlier this month that he was monitoring the U.S. after suspending a plan to fire missiles in the direction of American forces based in Guam.

In a written statement on Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the ballistic missile launch. 

"We call on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions and to refrain from provocative actions that would lead to further escalation in the region," the statement said.

Anadolu Agency