7 Jun 2011 DefenseNews AFP
SEOUL - North Korea test-fired a short-range missile off its west coast last week in the first such launch in 19 months, according to reports June 7.
North Korea fired the KN-06 missile into the Yellow Sea in the middle of last week, South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted an intelligence source as saying.
The source said North Korea has apparently been trying to increase the range of the KN-06 since last year and last week's launch seemed to be a test.
The defense ministry in Seoul had no immediate comment.
JoongAng Ilbo newspaper also reported a test of the KN-06, which has a range of 62 miles to 68 miles.
It quoted a Seoul military official as saying the launch appeared to have been planned before a series of threats against South Korea last week from the hardline communist state.
The launch, if confirmed, would be the North's first known test of short-range missiles since October 2009, when it test-fired five KN-02 surface-to-surface missiles off its east coast.
Pyongyang in the past has often scheduled such launches for political effect.
Tensions on the peninsula are high following two deadly border incidents last year which Seoul blames on its neighbor.
On May 30, the North announced it would no longer deal with the South's conservative government. North Korea's military threatened retaliation June 3 unless Seoul punishes troops who used pictures of Pyongyang's ruling dynasty as rifle-range targets.