North Korea has fired three ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan in a move almost certainly intended to capture the attention of Barack Obama and other world leaders meeting at the G20 summit in China.

The launches, made from a site south of Pyongyang just after noon on Monday (4am BST), came hours after the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, said he opposed the US deployment of a highly sophisticated anti-missile system in South Korea, despite growing regional concern about Pyongyang’s recent advances in missile technology.

North Korea appeared to successfully launch a ballistic missile from a submarinelast month – a disturbing development for its neighbours, since missiles fired from beneath the ocean’s surface are more difficult to detect in advance.

That missile flew 310 miles (500km), farther than any other North Korean missile of its kind, prompting experts to warn that the regime was making demonstrable progress towards its aim of possessing nuclear strike capability.

In July, the US and South Korea – where tens of thousands of American troops are based – agreed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system to counter missile and nuclear threats from the North. Continue reading.