North Korea Test-fires Short-range Missiles

North Korea has test launched two short-range missiles off its east coast, reported South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

“One was fired at 5:20 p.m. and the other at 6 p.m. from Sinsang-ni near the eastern coastal city of Wonsan, South Korean defense ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae,” said Yonhap.

The missiles were launched from a base near the eastern port of Wonsan, a South Korean defence ministry spokesman said, with one fired at 5:20 pm (0820 GMT) and the other at 6:00 pm.

The hardline communist state has responded defiantly to UN condemnation of its long-range rocket launch on April 5 and its May 25 nuclear test, vowing to bolster its defences.

“They appear to be ground-to-ship missiles, which were launched into the East Sea (Sea of Japan),” the spokesman said.

“We have no detailed information now but there have been preparations for missile launches in the region.”

According to a US military communication, the launch was expected, the North Korean government had issued a warning to mariners to stay away from an area in the Sea of Japan at certain times between June 24 and July 9 because of a “military firing exercise”.

The North issued a similar warning before testing a long-range missile in April, but that warning indicated two potential danger areas more indicative of a long-range missile test.

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