North Korea launches missiles into the sea

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North Korea launched four short-range missiles into the East Sea — also known as the Sea of Japan — the South Korean Defense Ministry said Thursday.

The missiles, which do not appear to have been sent toward South Korean waters, were fired toward Russia, fell into the sea and are considered a very low-level matter, the Pentagon said.

The missiles were fired just days after the start of annual joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States that North Korea opposes. The joint military exercises routinely spark tension between North Korea, South Korea and the United States.

For example, last year’s exercises triggered weeks of heightened tensions between the nations and North Korean war threats, including an incident in May when the country fired up to six short-range missiles.

The South Korean and U.S. militaries have not been specific about where they are conducting their drills, and it was unclear if the missiles were fired in the direction of the exercises.

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