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North Korea Launches Short-Range Missiles Into Sea

South Korea says North Korea has fired three short-range missiles into the East Sea -- also known as the Sea of Japan.

The South's Defense Ministry says it detected two launches Saturday morning, followed by another in the afternoon.

A ministry spokesman says the North's intent was not clear. He says South Korea's military is watching for any additional launches and "possible provocations."

Japan's Kyodo news service reported a Japanese official confirmed the launches and said the missiles did not fall into Japanese waters.

The development comes during a period of tentative diplomacy aimed at easing tensions. Earlier this year, Pyongyang threatened nuclear strikes on South Korea and the U.S. in light of annual U.S.-South Korean military drills and U.N. sanctions imposed on the North after its third nuclear test in February.

About two months ago, North Korea fired off two short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast. Pyongyang routinely conducts such exercises in an effort to improve its arsenal.
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to workers during a visit to the Pyongyang Children's Foodstuff Factory in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, Dec. 16, 2014.

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