North Korea fired a short-range missile toward waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, a South Korean intelligence official said Tuesday, amid signs of progress in ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The North "fired the short-range missile around 3:30 p.m. local time," the South Korean official said, asking not to be named, citing the sensitivity of the issue.

He said the range of the missile is about 62 miles but did not give further details.

The missile launch, the second in as many weeks, came as the United States and South Korea and their regional partners explore ways on how to persuade Pyongyang to quickly shut down its bomb-making reactor.

The U.N. nuclear inspectors plan to visit the communist nation next week to discuss how to monitor and verify the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, as agreed to by Pyongyang under a February agreement.