A North Korean mock Scud-B missile, center, and other South Korean mock missiles are displayed at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, July 4, 2009. North Korea fired five ballistic missiles off its eastern coast Saturday, South Korea said, a violation of U.N. resolutions and an apparent message of defiance to the United States on its Independence Day. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Several nations are condemning North Korea's recent missile launches, with Japan calling the July Fourth
firings a "serious act of provocation."
North Korea launched seven ballistic missiles into the waters off its east coast. The launches come as the U.S. moves to enforce U.N. and American sanctions against the regime for its May 25 nuclear test.
The firings are similar to an Independence Day display from North Korea three years ago during another period of tension over its nuclear program.
South Korea, Japan, Britain and France are condemning the launches. Russia and China have expressed concern over an "escalation of tension in the region."
The White House, however, has not commented. But two senior
administration officials had said before the launches any reaction to the North is likely to be muted to avoid giving the regime attention or antagonizing it.