Report: N. Korea conducts apparent short-range missile tests off coast

North Korea has fired three short-range missiles into waters off its western coast in an apparent routine test, Yonhap news agency reported Saturday. North Korea fired three ship-to-ship missiles into the West Sea on Friday, Yonhap said, citing South Korean government officials it did not identify. The report said that two of the missiles appeared to have misfired. The projectiles appeared to be of a variety made in the former Soviet Union with a range of about 45 kilometers, Yonhap said. The agency quoted an unidentified South Korean Defense Ministry official as saying the missile tests did not appear to be meant to provoke the South, since they were fired well away from contested waters off the western coast. North and South Korea have clashed in the past over the delineation of their sea border in the West Sea. The area is a rich fishing ground. Relations between the two countries have been tense in recent months since the new South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office in February with a vow to take a tougher line on the communist North.