SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired three short-range projectiles Thursday into the waters off its east coast in a possible move to stoke tensions with Seoul, a South Korean defense official said. Pyongyang's military later criticized alleged South Korean shelling in disputed waters.
The South Korean official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of department rules, said the projectiles flew about 190 kilometers (120 miles) before harmlessly landing in the water. The projectiles were fired from North Korea's eastern port city of Wonsan, and the South Korean military was investigating the type of projectiles and the North's intentions, the official said.
The state Korean Central News Agency early Friday said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the test-fire of "ultra-precision tactical guided missiles" and "expressed great satisfaction over the results."
Later Thursday, North Korea's army released a statement in state media saying South Korea had fired shells without notice into the North's waters from a front-line island near a Yellow Sea boundary that Pyongyang bitterly disputes.
The North Korean army in the front-line area is "full of the strong will of retaliation to punish the provocateurs to the last one by giving vent to their pent-up grudge," the statement said. "What they are waiting for is only the order to be given."
Short-range test firings by North Korea aren't unusual, but a barrage of missile and artillery tests earlier this year boosted animosity between the rivals. A North Korean artillery attack in 2010 killed four South Koreans on a front-line Yellow Sea island.
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