Monday, June 1, 2009

Reports Say N. Korea Preparing to Test Long-Range Missile

South Korean news reports say North Korea appears to be preparing to test-fire a long-range missile.

The reports Monday cite unidentified South Korean officials as saying the North has moved its most advanced long-range missile - capable of reaching the U.S. state of Alaska - to a west coast launch site, and could conduct a launch this month.

The reports also said Pyongyang has banned ships from the waters off its west coast through the end of July. 

The news comes as a U.S. government delegation is in Tokyo to begin a series of talks throughout Asia on how to respond to North Korea's latest nuclear test.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg is leading the group. He told reporters on arrival Sunday that he expects "very productive and intensive" conversations.

Pyongyang said it tested a nuclear weapon underground on May 25, then launched several short-range missiles and renounced the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953. 

The U.S. delegation visiting Asia includes Stuart Levy, who is the U.S. Treasury Department's undersecretary on terrorism and financial intelligence, and Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. special representative for North Korean policy.

Steinberg is to meet Monday with Japan's Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone.

From Japan, the delegation travels to South Korea, China and Russia. Those countries are part of stalled negotiations aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program.

North Korea has threatened to take retaliatory action if the United Nations Security Council imposes new sanctions. 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
I read it here

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