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Hyung-Jin Kim / The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea says North Korea has fired four suspected short-range missiles into its eastern waters.

A Defense Ministry official said North Korea fired four projectiles believed to be short-range missiles with a range of more than 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) into the waters off its east coast. The official spoke anonymously citing department rules.

North Korea routinely conducts short-range missile tests but Thursday's launch came three days after South Korea and the U.S. began their annual military drills which Pyongyang calls a rehearsal for invasion. North Korea has recently eased tension by taking a series of conciliatory gestures toward South Korea.

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