A file image of North Korea's missile launch during a news programme at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday. AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Washington – Britain, Germany and France have asked the UN Security Council to meet behind closed doors on Thursday on North Korea's latest missile launches, diplomats say.

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles early on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, only days after Pyongyang launched two similar missiles intended to pressure South Korea and the United States to stop upcoming military drills.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believed the missile launches were "just another reminder of the importance of restarting talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Earlier, South Korea's military said North Korea conducted its second weapons test in less than a week on Wednesday, in a move observers said could be aimed at boosting pressure on the US as the rivals struggle to set up fresh nuclear talks.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles were launched from Wonsan, a city the North pushes as a vacation destination but that it also uses as a regular launch site.

It said both missiles were believed to have flown about 250km at a maximum altitude of 30km and that the South Korean and US militaries were trying to gather more details.

The test, which would be yet another North Korean violation of UN Security Council resolutions, comes as the country's negotiations with the US over its nuclear weapons programme are at a stalemate and as Pyongyang has expressed anger over planned US-South Korean military drills.

"The North's repeated missile launches are not helpful to efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and we urge (North Korea) to stop this kind of behaviour," South Korea said.

Reuters