North Korea launches missile: source

North Korean rocket Unha-3, carrying the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3, lifts off from the launching pad in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province on Dec. 12, 2012. A South Korean military source said on March 15 that North Korea had fired short-range missiles into the East Sea.

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SEOUL, March 15 (Yonhap) — North Korea fired off short-range missiles into the East Sea on Friday amid heightened tension following its February nuclear test, a military source in Seoul said.

"A North Korean military unit on drill test-fired two shots of short-range missiles, presumed to be KN-02 missiles, into the East Sea" the source said.

The source did not say the exact time of the launching.

"The launch was seen as testing its capability for short-range missiles. It seemed to be conducted on a military-unit level, not at a national level."

North Korea is ratcheting up war rhetoric almost daily in response to the U.N. Security Council's adoption of new sanctions for the country's Feb. 12 nuke test.

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Pyongyang is believed to have more than 1,000 missiles -- most of which are able to strike South Korea -- and some are capable of hitting Japanese and U.S. military bases in this region. The KN-02 missiles, an upgraded version of SS-21 short-range missiles, are estimated to have a range of about 120 kilometers.

The South Korean military source said the North's missile launch appears to be in response to the joint South Korea-U.S. Foal Eagle and Key Resolve military exercises that began on Monday.

According to North Korean media reports, the North's leader Kim Jong-un oversaw artillery exercises this week that targeted two South Korean frontline islands in the Yellow Sea.

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