Russia source says North Korea readying launches: report

MOSCOW Tue Jun 9, 2009 6:23pm EDT

1 of 3. South Korean soldiers stand guard on the south side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, north of Seoul, June 9, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Jo Yong-Hak

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian Foreign Ministry source on Tuesday said there were signs that North Korea was preparing new missile launches, Interfax news agency reported.

After a nuclear test in May, Pyongyang conducted missile launches. South Korea said the North was preparing to test a long-range missile capable of reaching U.S. territory and mid-range missiles that could strike South Korea or Japan.

"Information is coming to us that there are signs of preparations for the launch of missiles," the unnamed Russian source was quoted as saying.

The diplomat said North Korea's temporary ban on navigation in certain areas of the Yellow and Japan Seas was an indication it was preparing to conduct a missile test, Interfax reported.

The source did not clarify what type of launch was anticipated.

"We have not received any formal information about this from the North Korean side," the source was quoted as saying.

Russian authorities regularly release information to local news agencies via unnamed foreign ministry officials.

(Reporting by Conor Sweeney)

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