S. Korea says N. Korea fires 3 short-range missiles
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S. Korea says N. Korea fires 3 short-range missiles

Latest launch comes amid efforts to ease tensions in period of tentative diplomacy between the two countries

In this Sunday, April 15, 2012 file photo, what appears to be a new missile is carried during a mass military parade at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung. (photo credit: AP/Ng Han Guan, File)
In this Sunday, April 15, 2012 file photo, what appears to be a new missile is carried during a mass military parade at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung. (photo credit: AP/Ng Han Guan, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — 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.

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 US-South Korean military drills and UN sanctions imposed over its third nuclear test in February. The drills ended late last month.

Analysts say the North Korean threats were partly an attempt to push Washington to agree to disarmament-for-aid talks.

This past week, Glyn Davies, the top US envoy on North Korea, ended trips to South Korea, China and Japan. On Friday, an adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned from North Korea but didn’t immediately give details of his talks with leaders there.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

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