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US Envoy Urges N. Korea to Refrain from Missile Launch

The U.S. special envoy on North Korea Stephen Bosworth Friday reiterated his call to North Korea to refrain from firing a rocket.

North Korea is making preparations to launch a rocket that it says will take an experimental satellite into orbit. South Korea and the United States believe Pyongyang is planning to test its longest-range ballistic missile.

As the new U.S. special envoy on North Korea, Bosworth is visiting three Asian countries involved in six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

He met with Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone during his second day in Tokyo. After the meeting, he said the U.S. and Japan agree the communist regime should refrain from the launch, which he said would be a provocation whether it is a satellite launch or a missile.

Bosworth said the U.S. and its allies would respond to such a provocation in what he called a "common fashion."

Bosworth made a similar statement after meeting with Chinese officials earlier this week in Beijing. He departs for South Korea on Saturday.

The U.S. envoy is in the region to discuss a common approach to six-party negotiations with North Korea, aimed at ridding the communist regime of nuclear weapons in exchange for food and energy aid.

While in South Korea, Bosworth also is expected to meet with Russian negotiators on North Korea.

South Korea and the U.S. believe Pyongyang is preparing to test-launch its Taepodong-two missile, which could possible reach the U.S. state of Alaska.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.