North Korea fires at least one short-range missile
North Korea fired at least one short-range missile last week into the Yellow Sea in the first such launch in 19 months, South Korean news reports said Wednesday.
The Yonhap News Agency cited an unnamed intelligence official as saying that one KN-06 missile was fired from the western coast of North Korea in the middle of last week while the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper quoted an unnamed high-ranking government official as saying multiple rockets were fired without specifying the number, DPA reported.
The source quoted by the newspaper said the missiles had a range of 100 to 110 kilometres.
The reported launch came as ties between North and South Korea were tense after the sinking last year of a South Korean warship and the North's bombardment of a border island. The two incidents killed 50 South Koreans.
Last week, Pyongyang also ruled out talks with Seoul and threatened its neighbour with military strikes.
The previous known tests of short-range missiles by North Korea came in 2009 and were of KN-02 surface-to-surface missiles, versions of Soviet Tochka missiles. Those launched last week were believed to be KN-02 missiles upgraded to KN-06 surface-to-air missiles, its source told the JoongAng Ilbo.
The intelligence official told Yonhap that North Korea was believed to be trying to increase the KN-06's range and last week's launch was meant to improve the rocket.