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North Korea fires short-range missile, strikes land target

North Korea has test-fired a short-range "projectile" near its east coast, striking land. This latest launch comes just days before the US is set to meet with South Korea and Japan to discuss the North's nuclear program.

Another "short-range projectile" launched

from North Korea

on Tuesday, South Korean military officials reported.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and standing ready for any situations," the statement from Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff read.

The rocket or missiles fired near the eastern city of Wosan around 5:40 p.m. local time and flew around 200 kilometers (124 miles) to the country's northeast.

The projectile appears to have "made contact" with the mainland. Previously, North Korea has fired test missiles into the sea.

An official from Seoul's Defense Ministry, who also didn't wish to be named, said it was too early to tell whether the North used the land target to test the accuracy and range of its weapons, or if the test experienced problems after planning to launch into the sea.

U.S. President Barack Obama

is set to meet South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday to discuss North Korea's nuclear program, the White House said.

Last Monday,

Pyongyang fired five short-range rockets or missiles

into the sea off the east coast, days after test-firing two medium-range missiles.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been at an all-time high since the North conducted its fourth nuclear test on January 6, followed by a long-range rocket launch which was believed to be a ballistic missile test.

rs/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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