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N. Korea launches missiles amid tension over nuclear test

All Headlines 16:00 May 26, 2009

By Sam Kim

SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired a pair of short-range missiles Tuesday on its east coast, escalating tensions already running high on the Korean Peninsula after its second nuclear test a day earlier, a South Korean official said.

"The North is continuing its saber-rattling," the official said, declining to be identified and to say whether the launches were meant as tests.

North Korea, which conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006, detonated another nuclear device in its northeastern region on Monday.

The underground blast was followed hours later by the firing of three short-range missiles on the east coast, according to South Korean defense officials.

The latest launches came as North Korea maintained its ban on ships from the waters off its northeastern coast. A South Korean defense source said earlier Tuesday that the waters off the northwestern coast had also been cleared in an apparent preparation for short-range missile tests.

North Korea, which launched a long-range rocket on April 5, is believed to have over 800 missiles.

samkim@yna.co.kr
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