North Korea test-fired missile on Monday - media

SEOUL Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:17pm IST

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SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea test-fired a short-range missile on its eastern coast on Monday, the day its leader Kim Jong-il's death was announced, South Korean media reported.

An unnamed South Korean official was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying he did not believe the launch was linked to the announcement of Kim's death.

"This is something that the military has continued to follow, and we believe it is not related to the death of Chairman Kim Jong-il," Yonhap quoted the official as saying.

The launch probably came in the morning, before the North's state media announced at noon the death of Kim from a heart attack on Saturday.

South Korea's Defence Ministry and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declined to confirm the report.

The North periodically test-fires short-range missiles into the waters off its coasts as part of routine training or timed to sensitive political developments. Reports of the last such firing came in June.

(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by; Jonathan Thatcher and David Chance)

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