North Korea fires short-range missile along its coast

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[March 29, 2016]    SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea test fired a short-range missile on its east coast on Tuesday, South Korea's military said, amid heightened tension over the isolated country's nuclear and rocket programs.

The missile was fired from near the North Korean coastal town of Wonsan at 5.40 p.m. (0840 GMT) and flew northeast for about 200 km and then "made contact" with the mainland, South Korea's military said in a statement.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has presided over a string of short-range missile launches in recent weeks in what North Korean state media has characterized as a response to U.N. sanctions imposed for its fourth nuclear test in January.

U.S. President Barack Obama will meet South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday to discuss North Korea's nuclear program, the White House said on Monday.

The meeting on the sidelines of a Nuclear Security Summit in Washington will take place the same day Obama talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

(Reporting by Rebecca Jang and Ju-min Park; Wrting by James Pearson; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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