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US postpones missile test to avoid ‘misperception’

7th Apr 2013

As diplomatic tensions with North Korea remain tense, the United States has said it will postpone a scheduled ballistic missile test. The decision is an effort to avoid unnecessarily provoking Pyongyang.

A Pentagon official, speaking to several news agencies on the condition of anonymity, said on Saturday that the test of the Minuteman 3 missile would be rescheduled for next month.

The official told the AFP news agency that US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had made the decision because conducting the test as planned “might be misconstrued by some as suggesting that we were intending to exacerbate the current crisis with North Korea.”

The test would have been conducted next week in California.

North Korea, which has been angered by the latest round of United Nations sanctions that followed its third nuclear test and by joint US-South Korean military exercises, has issued a series of military threats against Washington and Seoul over the past few days.

Most recently, North Korean authorities told foreign embassies that they could only vouch for their safety until April 10, leading to speculation that North Korea is planning a missile launch.

On Saturday, though, diplomats from a number of European countries with embassies in Pyongyang said they had no immediate plans to evacuate staff.

“The security of the German embassy and its exposure to danger are continually being evaluated,” a statement released by the German Foreign Ministry said. “For now, the embassy can continue working.”

A ministry spokesman in Berlin later told the Reuters news agency that the European diplomats were in close contact with each other to coordinate their actions.

mz/slk (AFP, dpa, Reuters)


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