The hermit nation says it launched two short-range missiles into international waters, with leader Kim Jong Un on hand to watch the test on Sunday morning.
The country often uses such unannounced displays of military power as a means of expressing discontent with the U.S. or South Korea, which considers the test a hostile act. North Korea could be concerned with Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to South Korea, as China has historically been an ally to North Korea and usually visits it first.
Or it could be motivated by the upcoming film The Interview, which stars Seth Rogan and James Franco as assassins going undercover as journalists during a mission to kill Kim Jong Un. The North Korean government has called the film an "act of war" and promised a "merciless" retaliation if it is released.