Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Chinese fishing vessels have moved out of waters near a disputed sea border between the two Koreas, a South Korean military official said on Wednesday, possibly signalling a North Korean short-range missile test is imminent.
In another move that could stoke tensions, U.S. and South Korean news reports said the North has made further preparations to test its longest-range Taepodong-2 missile, with a launch possible in about a month.
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North Korea usually orders its vessels to stay out of Yellow Sea waters off its west coast when it conducts short-range missile tests. China is the closest thing the North can claim as a major ally and is the impoverished state’s biggest benefactor.
“The (Chinese) fishing boats have disappeared, but no other unusual moves have yet been detected,” said an official with South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff who asked not to be named.
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