U.N. chief: North Korea missile move a step in right direction

UNITED NATIONS Tue May 7, 2013 12:52pm EDT

United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon speaks after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House, April 11, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing

United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon speaks after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House, April 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed reports that North Korea has taken two Musudan missiles off launch-ready status as "a step in the right direction," his spokesman said on Tuesday.

U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday that the missiles, which have a range of 3,000 to 3,500 km (1,900 to 2,200 miles), had been moved from North Korea's east coast after weeks of concern that Pyongyang had been poised for a test-launch.

"If the reports about the removal of ballistic missiles from their launch pads are correct, we would welcome that as a step in the right direction," Ban's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, told reporters.

"The Secretary-General has been consistent in urging the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to refrain from threats and other provocative actions and to reengage in dialogue with the parties concerned," Nesirky said.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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