Monday, June 19, 2006

Rice calls N. Korea missile threat "provocative" on Yahoo! News

"Provocative" you say! 
The United States and Japan warned North Korea on Monday against a missile launch that experts say could reach as far as Alaska and threatened harsh action if the test flight goes ahead.

The warning coincided with the assessment by some officials that Pyongyang may have finished fueling for the launch of its long-range Taepodong-2 missile.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said a missile launch by North Korea would be viewed as a very serious matter and "provocative act" that would further isolate Pyongyang.

In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has twice met North Korean leader Kim Jong-il since taking office in 2001, said Tokyo, Washington and Seoul were all urging Pyongyang to act rationally and with restraint.

The United States has found itself blocked by veto-wielding council members China and Russia in past attempts to raise North Korea's nuclear-weapons program in the Security Council.

"I will not get into or discuss any specific alert status or capabilities," Whitman told reporters.

Tension over North Korea added to downward pressure on the Japanese yen, Korean won and Taiwan dollar on Monday, although currency markets were more focused on rising U.S. interest rates.

U.S. officials said Washington had warned Pyongyang against a missile launch through a message passed to North Korean diplomats at the United Nations, but it had had no response.

U.S. officials said Pyongyang could still decide to scrap the launch, but that was unlikely given the complexity of siphoning fuel back out of a missile prepared for launch.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer


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