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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Japan: N. Korea Tests Missile

SEOUL, South Korea -- Japan's state broadcaster said North Korea test-fired another missile on Tuesday, but South Korea said it had no evidence of a second attention-grabbing launch by Pyongyang to coincide with a meeting of Pacific Rim leaders.

NHK television said the Communist North had apparently launched a short-range surface-to-ship missile following a test firing on Monday that U.S. officials described as an attempt to steal the limelight from the Bangkok summit.

But South Korea, which is seeking to keep ties with Pyongyang on an even keel, said it had no immediate proof of a second launch, although there were conflicting signals about the likelihood.

"Our system didn't spot any missile launch today," said Kim Hyung-kyu, a spokesman at the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry also said it had been unable to confirm the report, but added, "But we cannot say the NHK report is not true for sure."

In Tokyo, Japan's Defense Agency said it had received a report that "North Korea may have fired a surface-to-ship missile."

U.S. President George W. Bush and other Asia-Pacific leaders ended their summit vowing to "eliminate the severe and growing danger posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery."

Their declaration did not refer to North Korea. But Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said separately that the countries agreed to address Pyongyang's security concerns, while demanding verification of the Korean Peninsula's nuclear-free status.

On Monday, the North fired a missile into the sea between the peninsula and Japan in what Seoul said appeared to be part of military exercises. It was the third such launch this year.

In a statement bound to stir controversy in South Korea, a spokesman for the central committee of the North Korean Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League described the South's decision to send more troops to Iraq as an unpardonable crime.

It was the North's first reaction to Saturday's decision by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun's administration to send more troops to Iraq to back up U.S.-led forces there. Roh deferred a key decision on whether to include combat personnel.

"The U.S., which launched the war of aggression in Iraq, is reluctant to send its troops to its battlefields. Yet the South Korean authorities are hurling fellow countrymen there, even spending the money collected from the South Korean people as taxes," the North's statement said.

"We bitterly denounce such act as a pro-U.S. submissive act, flunkyist treachery," it said. The official KCNA news agency published the statement in English.

It was unlikely to be a coincidence that the statement was in the name of the North's Communist youth organization. Many young South Koreans were against the U.S.-led war in Iraq and oppose the sending of South Korean troops there.

"There is no reason for the young South Koreans to shed blood and meet tragic deaths in the far-off alien country for the sake of the U.S. imperialist aggressors," the North's statement said.