North Korea launches missiles
Seoul - North Korea test-fired three short-range missiles off its east coast this week in an apparently routine exercise, a South Korean official said on Friday.
The North lobbed what appeared to be KN-02 missiles with a range of 120km into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on Wednesday, the defence ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
The North frequently conducts such short-range tests but their timing sometimes coincides with periods of tension.
It reportedly test-fired two short-range missiles off its east coast on December 19, the same day it announced the death of leader Kim Jong-Il.
Kim's son Jong-Un has been proclaimed supreme leader and has been officially appointed commander of the 1.2-million-strong military.
The North has stressed that its stance will not change under its new young chief and that the "songun", or military-first, policy will continue.
On Sunday, state media showed Jong-Un driving a tank and giving orders to artillery, navy and air force units, in an apparent attempt to bolster his credentials with the world's fourth-largest armed forces.
The following day the military held a mass rally and vowed to become human "rifles and bombs" to protect him.