August 3, 2006

North Korea may have removed missile: report

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea may have removed a
Taepodong-2 missile from a launch site where the secretive
state fired one of the long-range rockets in July, causing a
regional security crisis, South Korean media reported on

Yonhap news agency cited a government official as saying a
second missile at the Musudan-ri site on the country's east
coast had been removed in mid-July.

The South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo reported on Friday the
Taepodong-2 missile in Musudan-ri was moved to another
location, citing an intelligence official.

But a defense ministry official contacted by telephone said
it was too early to say if the missile had been removed.

"There is no clear basis to back up the reports that it has
been moved." said the official, who asked not to be named.

On July 7, South Korea's defense minister told reporters
North Korea may have moved another Taepodong-2 missile to the
launch site where it fired one off two days before.

North Korea defied warnings from global powers by firing
seven missile on July 5, including the Taepodong-2, which
officials in Washington and Seoul said probably failed shortly
after its launch.

The Taepodong-2 may one day have a range where it could hit
parts of U.S. territory.

North Korea has been working closely with Iran to develop
its long-range ballistic missiles, possibly using Chinese
technology, and is building large bases to prepare for their
deployment, a South Korean state-run think tank said this week.