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Seoul: North Korea launches 30 short-range rockets in apparent protest of US-SKorean drills

South Korea says rival North Korea has launched 30 short-range rockets into the sea off its east coast in the latest in a series of apparent protests against ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills.

Analysts say the impoverished North chafes against the annual drills because it has to spend precious resources responding with its own exercises. Pyongyang claims the allies' drills are invasion preparation.

Major Kim Nam-wook of the South Korean Defense Ministry says the rockets flew about 60 kilometers (37 miles) early Saturday morning.

North Korea last year responded to the drills with threats of nuclear war against the South and the United States.

It has toned down its rhetoric this year. Analysts say that's because it believes better ties with Seoul might win it much-needed aid and outside investment.