North Korea Again Fires Short-Range Projectiles

North Korea Again Fires Short-Range ProjectilesNorth Korea Again Fires Short-Range Projectiles

North Korea on Saturday continued its string of rocket and missile firings, launching three short-range projectiles into the waters off its east coast ahead of a major holiday celebrated by both Koreas, AP cited a South Korean defense official said.

The projectiles flew about 210 kilometers (130 miles) before landing in the water, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of office rules. It wasn't immediately clear what sort of projectiles they were.

North Korea routinely test-fires missiles and rockets, but it has conducted an unusually large number of weapons tests this year, according to AP. Pyongyang has expressed anger over US-South Korean military drills and various South Korean government policies. The North says the drills are invasion preparation. Seoul and Washington say they are routine and defensive.

Separately, on Friday, North Korea said it would send back a South Korean man who entered the North illegally, in an apparent conciliatory gesture.

The repatriation suggests that impoverished North Korea is still interested in improving ties with South Korea, said Chang Yong Seok, a senior researcher at Seoul National University's Institute for Peace and Unification Studies. 

North Korea is sending its athletes to the Asian Games being held in South Korea later this month. And in recent months North Korea has proposed a set of measures it says would reduce tension, but South Korea has rebuffed the overture, arguing that North Korea must first take steps toward nuclear disarmament. Outside analysts say the North is pushing for better ties with South Korea to help attract foreign investment and aid to revive its economy.