North Korea shoots off two short-range rockets

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(CNN) — North Korea launched two short-range rockets off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, according to South Korea’s defense ministry.

They were fired around 7:50 and 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday and flew for about 112 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan, officials said.

The launch comes a day after North Korea asked South Korea to halt intrusions at sea and firing drills near islands close to the two countries’ disputed maritime border.

North Korea also wanted South Korea to stop “attracting” U.S. military hardware, including strategic bombers and a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, into the region.

It also asked that South Korea cancel its planned joint military drills with the United States in August.

Seoul and Washington have dismissed previous demands from North Korea for joint U.S.-South Korean drills to be called off.

North Korea said Monday that ending the hostilities, starting Friday, would help improve the atmosphere between the two sides ahead of “exchanges and contacts that are scheduled to actively happen between North and South.”

The South Korean Defense Ministry declined to comment on the North Korean demands.

Tensions have flared periodically between the two Koreas in recent months, notably along their maritime boundary, known as the Northern Limit Line.

In late March, the two sides both fired hundreds of shells across their western sea border.

Last month, the South Korean Navy fired warning shots after three North Korean patrol boats crossed the line. And a few days later, North Korea fired at least two shells near a South Korean patrol boat in the Yellow Sea.

North Korea has also carried out a series of missile and rocket launches into the sea, drawing criticism from South Korea, the United States and the United Nations.

North and South Korea remain technically at war since the Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, in 1953.

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