North Korean leader Kim Jong Un resumed his antics Thursday by firing two short range missiles into the North Sea. They were likely fired from a location near the eastern coastal town of Wonsan.

An officer from the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, "We believe that (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un has recently strayed in the region, and summertime military drills are now under way in the North. We have been closely monitoring the situation.”

The missiles reached an altitude of about 50 kms and traveled approximately 450 kms, based on a U.S. analysis. The range is characteristic of the Russian made Iskander missile that happens to be the type of missile N. Korea test fired in May. More analysis is needed to determine the type of missile with more certainty.

The timing of the missile launch is raising some eyebrows in South Korea and the U.S. Kim and President Donald Trump had a well-publicized meeting in June where they agreed to resume their “working level” talks soon. Pyongyang has requested that the U.S. and South Korea suspend their planned military exercise scheduled for August, claiming it would affect the efforts to resume the talks.

The firings come just days after Kim visited a site where he inspected a newly built submarine capable to carrying four anti-ballistic missiles. This is quite a step up in that the current sub in their fleet capable of carrying such missiles can hold only one.  

These developments all point to efforts by North Korea to pressurize Washington for more concessions if the talks do resume. Experts like Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center, thinks that these are not the last actions the world will see out of North Korea. Wit is also the director of a website called 38 North that tracks activities in the secretive country. He adds that these actions are to show the world that they are “tough guys” and that Kim posing with the submarine is “likely not a coincidence."

Wit urges the U.S. to be calm in any response saying, "Going to the UN is just a dead-end. It doesn't hurt us at all to stay calm and not fly off the handle. They'll test for whatever reasons they test, not because the Americans were tough on them."

While the launching of the missiles goes against a UN Security Council resolution to ban such launches, it does not violate a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests that Kim declared on his own country in November of 2017.