Report: N. Korea Test Fires Short-Range Missile

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Nuclear-armed North Korea test-fired a short-range missile off its east coast on Monday, the same day it announced the death of leader Kim Jong-Il, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said.

The agency quoted an unnamed government official as saying the missile launch was unrelated to the announcement that Kim had died Saturday of a heart attack.

Seoul's defense ministry declined to confirm the reported launch.

South Korea put its military on alert as the North's state television announced at noon that the 69-year-old leader had died.

"North Korea test-fired a short-range missile this morning... it has been closed monitored by our military authorities," the official was quoted by Yonhap as saying.

The missile is believed to have a range of about 120 kilometers, he said, adding the North was apparently trying to improve the weapon.

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