U.S., Japan Urge N. Korea to Forgo Test-Fire of Missile

Associated Press
Sunday, June 18, 2006

TOKYO, June 17 -- The United States and Japan urged North Korea not to proceed with reported plans to test-fire a long-range missile that could reach the U.S. mainland, saying Saturday that a launch would be dangerous and provocative.

But North Korean officials later denied such preparations, the Kyodo News agency reported citing a South Korean official it did not identify.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso met Saturday night amid mounting speculation the North could soon test a Taepodong-2 missile capable of reaching the United States with a light payload.

After the meeting, Schieffer reiterated Washington's stance that the test would be a dangerous act that would hurt North Korean interests. The North has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile tests since 1999.

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