South Korean and Chinese officials are meeting to discuss reports that North Korea is preparing to test fire a missile capable of reaching the United States...
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South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon traveled to Beijing to meet his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing following the release of satellite images that appear to show North Korea fueling a long-range missile.
In Washington, President Bush voiced concerns about the satellite photos, saying Pyongyang should notify the world of its intentions.
Mr. Bush said he has urged the six nations involved in nuclear talks with North Korea to consider any missile launch to be provocative. The president said China has already conveyed that message to the North Koreans.
The reports of a planned missile launch come amid a tense stand-off over North Korea's nuclear program. Talks between Pyongyang and the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia have been stalled since November.
Also Monday, Japan's Yomiuri newspaper reports that the U.S. and Japan have agreed to deploy three or four advanced surface-to-air Patriot (Advanced Capability-3) missiles in southern Japan (Okinawa) to improve defenses against a possible missile attack. The report also says the U.S. plans to deploy 500 to 600 more troops.
U.S. officials have not commented on the report.
Last week, North Korea declared it has the right to test missiles, and is not bound by any previous agreement or statement. Pyongyang has observed a self-imposed moratorium on missile testing since 1999.
The country last tested a long-range missile in 1998. The missile crossed Japanese territory before plunging into the Pacific Ocean.