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Report: N.Korea Deploying Missiles

January 2, 1999

TOKYO (AP) _ North Korea has deployed medium-range ballistic missiles, a Japanese broadcaster reported Saturday, a move that appears likely to unnerve its neighbors.

The reported deployment comes just months after North Korea fired a long-range missile over Japan, prompting denunciations from Tokyo.

North Korea began developing the missiles, which are known as the Rodong-1 and have a range of about 620 miles, in the late 1980s and completed a test-firing in 1993, public NHK TV said.

The report didn’t say how many missiles had been deployed or whether they were ready for launch. Japanese Defense Agency officials were not immediately available for comment Saturday.

North Korea manufactured 20 Rodong-1 missiles in 1997 and another 10 by the summer of 1998, NHK said, citing unidentified defense officials. Some were exported to Pakistan and Iran, the report said.

The missile fired over Japan in August was believed to have been a Taepo Dong, capable of striking any part of the Japanese archipelago.

North Korea has said the rocket launched was a satellite, but Japan has dismissed that claim. The reclusive communist state said recently it is preparing to launch another satellite.

Japan has no missile-monitoring system, but has decided to put four spy satellites into orbit by 2002.

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