The Bush administration said on Tuesday that North Korea's firing of missiles was a provocation, but not an immediate threat to the United States.
"It is a provocation," said a senior administration official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, told reporters, "The North Koreans have again clearly isolated themselves." The test firings included at least two short-range missiles and a long-range Taepodong-2, the communist nation's most advanced missile with a range of up to 9,320 miles (14,998 kilometres). The longer-range missile is believed capable of reaching US soil. All the missiles landed in the Sea of Japan, according to the Japanese government.
But the senior US official said the missile launches were "no immediate threat to the US"
The United States has contacted the China, South Korea and Japanese governments about the test firings.
President George W Bush has been in consultation with Defence Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Snow said. Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state, is set to head to the region on Wednesday, and Hadley is to meet with his South Korean counterpart, a meeting in Washington that already had been scheduled, Snow said.
The test firings, which are seen as a provocation by the United States and other nations trying to get North Korea to submit to a verifiable nuclear program, occurred as Americans were celebrating Independence Day.
The reclusive communist nation's action came after weeks of speculation that it was preparing to test its Taepodong 2 missile. The preparations prompted warnings from the United States and Japan, which had threatened possible economic sanctions in response.