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South Korea says North Korea fires 4 short-range projectiles

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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired four short-range projectiles toward the ocean off its east coast on Wednesday in its latest in a series of missile and artillery tests, officials said.

A South Korean Defense Ministry official said the North fired two projectiles in the morning and two in the afternoon from a site at Mount Myohyang northeast of Pyongyang. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department rules.

Yonhap News agency said some of the projectiles failed to travel far and could have fallen on North Korean land, while others appeared to have reached waters off its east coast.

It was the latest in a series of missile and artillery tests carried out by North Korea this year. Although the North routinely test-fires missiles, artillery and rockets, the number of tests this year is much higher than in previous years.

Outside analysts say this indicates that North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, is handling things differently than his late father, Kim Jong Il, who used longer-range missile and nuclear tests sparingly as negotiating tools with the outside world to win concessions. Kim Jong Un inherited power upon his father's death in December 2011.

On Tuesday, Adm. Samuel Locklear, in charge of American forces in Asia and the Pacific, told a Pentagon news conference that he was concerned that the world was becoming "numb" to the frequent North Korean missile tests.

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