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Japan Has No Knowledge Of Any Imminent North Korean Missile Launch

File photo: North Korean Taepodong missile.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Jun 14, 2006
Japan said Tuesday it had no indications to back up reports that North Korea plans an imminent test of a long-range missile like the one it fired over the country in 1998. "At the present moment, we have no knowledge of North Korea's imminent launch," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, the government spokesman.

"In any case we are doubling our efforts to collect and analyze information about military movement around our country, including North Korea's activities," he told a press conference.

A string of news reports have indicated North Korea is planning to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile. A weekend report quoted a US official saying there were "enough indications" to suggest preparations by Pyongyang.

It would be the first time in eight years that North Korea tested a long-range missile which could one day hit the mainland United States, although Pyongyang has tested shorter range missiles.

In 1998, North Korea fired a missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean and later called it a satellite launch, leading Japan and the United States to hurry to build a missile defense system.

The latest reports come as US attention is focused on Iran's nuclear drive and six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear program remain deadlocked.

Pyongyang is refusing to return to talks unless the United States lifts financial sanctions over alleged counterfeiting and money-laundering.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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China Deploys New Dong Feng
Washington (UPI) Jun 14, 2006
China's new Dong Feng-31, or CSS-9, road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile is expected to enter service during 2006, Jane's Intelligence reported on its Web site on June 9. The DF-31 is expected to be followed by the extended-range DF-31A version in 2007, the Web site said.

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