SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea fired four short-range missiles toward the sea off the country's east coast on Thursday, a media official at South Korea's Defence Ministry said, while providing no information on the purpose of the firing.

North Korea fired the missiles at 5:42 p.m. (0342 ET) from a mountain site just north of the border with the South, the official said.

North Korea has in the past fired short-range missiles into the sea as part of military exercises.

(Reporting by Choonsik Yoo and Jane Chung; Editing by Robert Birsel)