September 2, 2006

N.Korea may hold another missile test: media

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea may be preparing for another
missile test, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on
Sunday, but a government official in Seoul discounted the

Yonhap also reported China is likely to invite North Korean
leader Kim Jong-il to visit this week in an effort to restore
their relationship strained after North Korea's missile tests
in July.

China is the North's main benefactor. Beijing voted in
support of a U.N. Security Council resolution chastising
Pyongyang for the missile tests.

Beijing was expected to convey its formal invitation to Kim
early this week when its new ambassador to Pyongyang takes
office, Yonhap reported, citing unnamed diplomatic sources in
Seoul and Beijing.

South Korean and the U.S. intelligence authorities have
detected suspicious vehicle movement in and out of North
Korea's major missile test site, Yonhap quoted a government
source in Seoul as saying in a separate report on Sunday.

"Military intelligence officials have spotted movements by
several large vehicles in the North's Gitdaeryeong area,"
Yonhap cited the unidentified source as saying.

"They don't rule out the possibility that it is part of
preparations for additional missile tests."

The area was used in the test-firing of seven missiles by
the North on July 5. These included the North's Taepodong-2
missile, which fizzled out soon after the launch but one day
may have a range to hit parts of U.S. territory, experts said.

A government official in Seoul played down the Yonhap

"As far as we know, no new vehicles have moved in that
area," the official, who is familiar with defense matters, told
Reuters by telephone. The official, who asked not to be
identified, said the activity was among vehicles that have been
at the site since July.

"Given this, it may be too much of a stretch to say this
indicates the possibility of new missile tests by the North."