North Korea fires short-range missiles into sea

Seoul - North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its eastern coast on Thursday, fuelling military tensions after its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

South Korea's defence ministry said the two missiles were fired around 5:20am (2020 GMT Wednesday) and flew some 500 kilometres (300 miles), before landing in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) off the North Korean port city of Wonsan, a ministry spokesman said.

Short-range missile launches are a regular and relatively low-level item on North Korea's long list of provocative gestures.

The North fired six high-calibre rockets into the sea a week ago in protest at the adoption of tough, new sanctions on Pyongyang by the UN Security Council.

Those sanctions were imposed as a direct result of the North's fourth nuclear test in January and last month's space rocket launch, which was seen as a disguised ballistic missile test.

Tensions have risen further this week with the launch of large-scale South Korean-US military exercises which Pyongyang responded to with threats of pre-emptive nuclear attack.

And state media caused a stir Wednesday by publishing photos of leader Kim Jong-Un posing with what was claimed to be a miniaturised nuclear warhead.