North Korea test-fired five short-range missiles into the sea today in its second such weapons test this year, a South Korean defense official said, amid dimming prospects for the resumption of high-level talks between the rival countries. The missiles, fired from a North Korean coastal town, flew about 125 miles before landing in waters off the country's east coast, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said on condition of anonymity. North Korea routinely tests missiles, rockets, and artillery, but the latest launches came with the two Koreas at odds over terms for a possible summit meeting between their leaders. The two countries last month floated the idea of the summit, which would be the third such meeting since they were divided 70 years ago.
North Korea separately told the US last month that it was willing to impose a temporary moratorium on its nuclear tests if Washington cancels joint military drills with South Korea. But the US has rejected the overture, calling it an "implicit threat." The North said yesterday that it had test-fired a new anti-ship cruise missile, and that Kim Jong Un observed the firing. It did not say when the launch took place, but the South Korean official said it happened Friday. Last year, the North conducted an unusually large number of missile and other weapons tests, drawing protests from South Korea. The North still proposed a set of measures that it said would lower tensions, but South Korea rebuffed them, saying the country must first take steps toward nuclear disarmament.