The South Korean agency, quoting a government source, said the missiles were fired on Friday into the Yellow Sea off
The second test by the hard line Communist country in two months was part of a training exercise involving Russian-designed
"The missile launch, like the test-firing conducted on March 28, is part of normal military training aimed at testing the performance of the missiles and improving operational readiness," the unnamed source was quoted as saying.
A South Korean defense ministry spokesman refused to comment on the missile launches, which coincide with rising cross-border tensions following this years change of government in
"We dont comment on any matter of intelligence," the spokesman said.
The source quoted by Yonhap said the missiles were fired toward the northeast from a ship in the Yellow Sea as
"And they were short-ranged. Therefore, we don’t think they were aimed at threatening the South. We believe it was part of preparations for the summer military exercise," the source was quoted as saying.
North Korean military usually carries out inspections of its equipment in May and June ahead of the summer exercises by test-firing short-range missiles and ammunition and carrying out drills, Yonhap said.
The latest launch coincided with a warning from the North’s military that inter-Korean relations could fall into an "uncontrollable catastrophic phase" if the South continued scattering anti-Pyongyang leaflets on its territory. It accused
The South’s defense ministry said it stopped sending leaflets in 2004 but individual groups including Christians and North Korean defectors continued the practice.
Inter-Korean relations have soured after President Lee Myung-Bak took office in February, replacing 10 years of liberal rule with a conservative government.
North Korean military tests have shaken the region previously, particularly in 1998 when
Under the deal, it agreed to disable nuclear plants at its key Yongbyon facility in exchange for aid and diplomatic recognition.
As part of that agreement,
But disputes over the declaration have blocked the start of the final phase of the process -- the permanent dismantling of the plants and the handover of all atomic material.