N.Korea Fires 2 Short-Range Missiles

North Korea fired two short-range missiles into the East Sea early Sunday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff here said. It was the second firing of projectiles in three days.

A JCS official said the North fired what are thought to have been two Scud missiles in the early hours of the morning. They traveled about 500 km and fell into the East Sea.

The military presumes that they were the similar to the Scud missiles North Korea fired last March.

The JCS official said, "It appears to have been done to boost the accuracy of the missiles rather than their range."

North Korea has fired 11 short-range missiles so far this year, including four ballistic missiles.

A military official said, "The three short-range rockets launched last Thursday flew about 190 km, and analysis of their trajectory led to the conclusion that they were equipped with a homing device." They were the same rockets North Korea fired last February and March and they flew about 140 to 160 km. North Korea test-fired the rockets a dozen times since 2012.

/Rodong Sinmun /Rodong Sinmun

The official added Pyongyang seems to be focused on upgrading the capabilities of ballistic missiles and artillery that could be used to strike targets in South Korea and appears to have almost completed development of new artillery weapons.

North Korea did not declare a no-fly zone over waters where the missiles were projected to land.

A government official said the North probably wanted to avoid provoking Japan, which has been taking steps to improve relations with the North including easing sanctions, while sending a warning message to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has forged closer ties with South Korea and is scheduled to visit Seoul on July 3.

Xi is the first Chinese leader to visit South Korea before North Korea and has voiced firm opposition to North Korea's nuclear program.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 30, 2014 10:05 KST