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North Korea fired two missiles into sea off its coast Sunday in an apparent test, raising concerns from Seoul to Washington, officials said.

The two missiles were thought to be short-range Scuds, an unnamed South Korean official was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. Such saber-rattling often comes when North Korea wishes to signal its displeasure over actions by South Korea or the U.S.

This time, however, the missile tests occurred just before Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Seoul next week before venturing to Pyongyang, the Wall Street Journal reports. Top Chinese officials have never gone to South Korea before calling on North Korea. The move was being viewed as a sign of Chinese frustration with Pyongyang.

The U.S. has often counted on China, a trade partner and donor to North Korea, to act as a buffer in pressuring Kim Jong Un to avoid provocative moves.

Kim Jong Un has been boasting lately that his nation has developed more precise missiles.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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