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EU condemns N Korea missile tests

Written by: Staff
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HELSINKI, July 5 (Reuters) The European Union today condemned North Korea's missile test launches, calling them ''provocative'' and saying they strained regional stability.

''The EU strongly condemns the provocative missile test- launches performed by the government of the (Democratic People's Republic of Korea),'' said a statement from EU president Finland.

It called on North Korea to re-establish a moratorium on long-range missile testing and urged it to return to six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programme without preconditions.

North Korea test-fired a barrage of missiles today, including a long-range weapon said to be capable of reaching Alaska.

''These tests, which also included long-range missile systems that can be used to deliver weapons of mass destruction, place additional strains on regional stability at a time when the unresolved nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula requires mutual confidence building,'' the EU said.

It added that the tests were also a concern because of their implications for global proliferation.

The United States, which is party to six-way talks stalled since November, warned North Korea against any more provocative acts, and said Washington would take necessary measures to protect itself and its allies.

The UN Security Council was to meet later in the day, at Japan's request.

China, North Korea's closest ally and the host of six-party talks, expressed worry.

The other participants in the talks are Japan, Russia and the two Koreas.

REUTERS PKS KP1841

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