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6 of 7 N.Korean Missile Tests Successful

MARI YAMAGUCHI / AP | August 6 2006

TOKYO -- An analysis by Japan and the United States has concluded that six of the seven missiles tested by North Korea last month fell within their targets, a major Japanese newspaper reported Sunday.

Only a newly developed long-range missile, Taepodong-2, is believed to have failed, the Yomiuri newspaper said, citing unidentified Japanese officials.

Based on initial data from U.S. military early warning satellites, Japan's Defense Agency had doubted the targeting accuracy of the missiles, but later discovered that the six medium-range missiles actually fell inside the sea zone North Korea had marked beforehand, the newspaper said.

North Korea's July 5 missile tests drew strong international condemnation, prompting the U.N. Security Council to adopt a statement denouncing the launches and banning countries from missile-related dealings with the North.

Although the Taepodong-2, believed to be capable of reaching parts of the United States, crashed shortly after being launched, the accuracy of the other missiles was relatively high, the newspaper quoted the officials as saying.

The U.S. and Japanese analysis, based on data collected by radar on Aegis-equipped warships and other intelligence sources, found that the six missiles traveled 185-250 miles northeast from the Kitaeryong missile base on North Korea's southeastern coast and landed inside a designated zone within a radius of about 30 miles, the Yomiuri said.

North Korea set a restricted area -- a triangle about 100 miles on each side -- in the Sea of Japan off the North Korean coast between July 4 and 11.

Defense Agency officials could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday.

Japan's Defense Agency had planned to release the analysis in early August, but that date will be delayed to allow for further discussions with the United States, the Yomiuri said.

North Korea has said it has the right to test missiles and vowed further tests. But Friday, a South Korean official said North Korea may have removed a long-range missile from a launch site, lowering the possibility of further tests.

Intelligence reports indicated earlier that North Korea may have moved two Taepodong-2 missiles to the launch site before test-firing one in July.


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