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North Korea may have removed missile: media

Reuters | August 4 2006

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 Friday.

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.

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