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Kim Jong Un supervised North Korea missile launch, state media says

By Ralph Ellis CNN

(CNN) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the country's ballistic missile launches Monday, according to state news agency KCNA.

The report called the test a drill of the army's Hwasong artillery units, part of a strategic force "tasked to strike the bases of the US imperialist aggressor forces in Japan in contingency."

World leaders quickly condemned North Korea's action.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, "The launches are consistent with North Korea's long history of provocative behavior. The United States stand with our allies in the face of this very serious threat.

"The Trump administration is taking steps to enhance our ability to defend against North Korea's ballistic missiles, such as through the deployment of a THAAD battery to South Korea."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters he and President Donald Trump talked by phone about 8 a.m. Tuesday local time (6 p.m. ET Monday) and agreed the missile launches were "a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions" and a threat to the international community.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss North Korea in closed consultations at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. A planned Syria meeting was moved to 3 p.m.

Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the missile launch and said, "Such actions violate Security Council resolutions and seriously undermine regional peace and stability."

Military authorities in South Korea, Japan and the United States confirmed the launch of four projectiles, which traveled almost 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) toward the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea. One US official said they were intermediate-range missiles.

Abe said three landed inside Japan's exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from its coastline, according to international maritime law.

This isn't the first time North Korea has launched multiple missiles over this distance.

In September 2016, North Korea launched three ballistic missiles about 1,000 kilometers to land in Japan's Air Defense Identification Zone, provoking a strong response.

CNN's Will Ripley and Junko Ogura in Tokyo, Lonzo Cook in Atlanta, Richard Roth in New York and Zahra Ullah in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

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