North Korea test fired four short-range missiles over the weekend, according to South Korea’s defence ministry, defying international sanctions once again.

Just as tensions on the Korean peninsula seemed to have died down, Pyongyang launched a fourth short-range missile into waters off its eastern coast on Sunday, just a day after it tested three other missiles, reports Yonhap news agency.

A spokesman for Seoul’s defence ministry confirmed the report and said it had detected the short-range guided missile, headed northeast, according to Reuters.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry criticized the North’s launch as “deeply deplorable” and urged restraint but said its “military preparation posture” had not changed.

The missile tests comes after the US’ deployment of an aircraft carrier to take part in joint exercises with South Korean forces, which Pyongyang condemned as a Washington “war maneuver” that would “violate the sovereignty of the Korean people”.

Seoul has been seeking to hold talks with Pyongyang over the joint Kaesong industrial complex which has been shuttered since North Korea pulled out all its workers amid tensions. The complex was the latest sign of cooperation between the two Koreas.