North Korea is reportedly preparing to fire more short-range missiles in what is seen as a move to strengthen its hand in forthcoming talks on its nuclear weapons programme. Pyongyang fired five missiles off its east coast yesterday.But South Korea says negotiations will still go ahead. A government spokesmand said:“These are the same missile launches that have taken place several times in the past….the talks will take place despite the missile launches. North Korea has accepted our suggestions and and it seems like there’ll be no other problems in holding the talks as planned.” The test firing coincides with the arrival of the aircraft carrier the USS Washington in South Korea today. Such visits are usually portrayed by the North as acts of provocation. Pyongyang has said it is ready to return to international talks on ending its nuclear arms programme, but has called for separate dialogue with the US first.