The foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea on Wednesdaycriticised North Korea over a submarine missile test it conducted during annual talks between the three countries, AP reported. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the test was a “provocation that simply cannot be tolerated”, adding that Tokyo had lodged a protest with Pyongyang over the matter.

Meanwhile, officials in Seoul said the launch of the ballistic missile in the Sea of Japan was an “armed protest” against the annual joint drills between South Korea and the United States. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said that the launch was a demonstration of the North’s “rapid advancement of capability”. The minister called on his Chinese and Japanese counterparts to deepen their cooperation in view of the test. China also said that it opposed Pyongyang’s missile programmes, calling them “actions that cause tensions on the Korean Peninsula”.

The annual talks between the three countries resumed only in 2015 after a two-year hiatus because of worsening relations between China and Japan. The missile test and subsequent criticism comes a week after the Kim Jong-un government told Japan’s Kyodo News that it hadrestarted plutonium production at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor facility.