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North Korea fires short-range ballistic missiles into sea

Amid animosity over joint US-South Korea military exercises, North Korea has fired two short-range missiles into the sea. A day earlier, Kim Jong Un posed with what Pyongyang claimed was a miniature nuclear warhead.

The North Korean military fired two missiles from near the country's east coast city of Wonsan, in North Hwanghae Province, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said on Thursday morning.

Quoting military sources in the South, Yonhap said the missiles had flown approximately 500 kilometers (300 miles) before falling into the water.

The firing of such short-range missiles is a regular occurrence, and ranks relatively low on North Korea's list of

provocative gestures.

Pyongyang fired six rockets into the sea last week from Wonsan, in an occasion supervised by leader Kim Jong Un.

Nordkorea Kim Jong-un

Kim appeared with a device that North Korea claimed was a warhead

The latest missile launches come after Kim on Wednesday said the North had developed

miniaturized nuclear warheads

that could be place on missiles. Official pictures were released showing Kim beside a round silver object resembling a part of a warhead. South Korea's Defense Ministry, however, has said it believes the photographs are fakes.

'Seas of flames and ashes'

Tension are high on the Korean peninsula at present, with the United States and South Korea staging

large-scale military exercises.

North Korea, which views such maneuvers as a threat and a possible preparation for invasion, warned that the country was already in a position to launch a nuclear strike against its enemies.

"If we push the buttons to annihilate the enemies even right now, all bases of provocations will be reduced to seas of flames and ashes in a moment," Pyongyang said in a message carried by the North's KCNA news agency.

The leadership in Pyongyang is also understood to be angry about tough United Nations

sanctions after a recent nuclear test and long range rocket launch.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby declined to comment on the North's claims to have developed miniature warheads, while condemning Kim's pursuit of the advancement of military technology.

"I'd say the young man needs to pay more attention to the North Korean people and taking care of them than in pursuing these sorts of reckless capabilities," Kirby said.

rc/sms (AP, Reuters)

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