North Korea launched two apparent ballistic missiles on Monday, South Korea and Japan said, as the nuclear-armed country continues to test weapons at a frenetic pace in 2022.

The launches were the isolated country's fourth show of force this year. Officials and experts say North Korea continues to make rapid advances in its weapons programs and the latest launches highlight how crushing sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic have done little to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile ambitions.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the two apparent ballistic missiles had hit a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers (30 miles), traveling about 300 km, assuming a normal trajectory. The missiles were both believed to have fallen outside Japan's exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its coast, he added.