North Korea Thursday fired two short-range missiles, fuelling tensions sparked by its nuclear standoff, as a US team began talks in China on ways to make UN sanctions bite against Pyongyang. The missiles were launched in the early evening from a base near the eastern port of Wonsan, South Korea's defence ministry said. "They appear to be ground-to-ship missiles, which were launched into the East Sea (Sea of Japan)," a spokesman told a foreign news agency. "We have no detailed information now but there have been preparations for missile launches in the region." The North has responded angrily to United Nations sanctions imposed following its long-range rocket launch on April 5 and a May 25 nuclear test, and vowed to bolster its defences.