South Korea says North Korea fires 3 short-range guided missiles into its eastern waters

Published 3:50 pm Saturday, May 18, 2013

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired three short-range guided missiles into its eastern waters on Saturday, a South Korean official said. It routinely tests such missiles, but the latest launches came during a period of tentative diplomacy aimed at easing tensions.

The North fired two missiles Saturday morning and another in the afternoon, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said by phone. He said the North’s intent was unclear.

In March, North Korea launched what appeared to be two KN-02 missiles off its east coast. The country routinely launches such short-range missiles in an effort to improve its arsenal.

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North Korea recently withdrew two mid-range missiles believed to be capable of reaching Guam after moving them to its east coast earlier this year, U.S. officials said. The North is banned from testing ballistic missiles under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Earlier this year, North Korea threatened nuclear strikes on Seoul and Washington because of annual U.S.-South Korean military drills and U.N. sanctions imposed over its third nuclear test in February. The drills ended late last month.