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Defiant N Korea vows to continue missile tests

Written by: Staff

SEOUL, July 6 (Reuters) A defiant North Korea acknowledged for the first time today that it had launched several missiles, vowed to carry out more tests and threatened to use force if the international community tried to stop it.

Pyongyang's statement came as the United States and Japan closed ranks in the face of a U.N. Security Council split over whether to impose sanctions on North Korea for the volley of missiles it fired off on Wednesday.

''The KPA will go on with missile launch exercises as part of its efforts to bolster deterrent for self-defence in the future, too,'' North Korea's official KCNA news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

''The DPRK will have no option but to take stronger physical actions of other forms, should any other country dare take issue with the exercises and put pressure upon it.'' DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Officials say North Korea launched at least six missiles from its east coast early on Wednesday and, as the international community fumed, it fired off a seventh some 12 hours later.

The missiles included a long-range Taepodong-2, which some experts had said could hit Alaska. U.S. officials said it flew for less than a minute and splashed into the sea west of Japan.

South Korea's defence minister told a parliamentary committee that an analysis of equipment and personnel being moved in and out of a missile-launch site in North Korea suggested the possibility of additional launches, Yonhap reported.

South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo cited a government official as saying the North might be looking to launch three or four more intermediate-range missiles. And NBC News, citing unnamed U.S.

officials, said preparations seemed to be under way for a second Taepodong test, but the weapon was not yet at the launch pad.


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