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Hagel due in Beijing after reassuring Tokyo on security ties

BEIJING, April 7 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was to arrive in Beijing Monday for discussions on global and regional security issues, including North Korea's nuclear program, after reassuring Tokyo of Washington's commitment to its defense posture. China is Hagel's third stop on his 10-day trip across the Asia-Pacific and his first visit to Beijing as the U.S. defense chief at a time when regional tensions have been growing amid the North's threat of a fresh nuclear test and worsening rivalry between Beijing and Tokyo.

N. Korea slams South for test-firing ballistic missile

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea blasted South Korea Monday for test-firing a ballistic missile capable of reaching all parts of the communist country, threatening strong retaliation against any provocation. Late last month, South Korea successfully tested the ballistic missile with a range of 500 kilometers and a payload of 1 ton at a firing range southwest of Seoul, which hit the intended target. Calling the March 23 test launch a "grave provocation," the North's National Defense Academy said that Pyongyang will not sit idle and will deal sternly with provocations.

S. Korean nuke envoy in D.C. for talks on N. Korea

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, April 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea, the U.S. and Japan will seek ways to avert future North Korean provocations and discuss contingency plans in case their efforts fail, when their top point men on the communist nation gather in Washington, D.C. this week, a South Korean official said Sunday. Hwang Joon-kook, Seoul's new special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, also indicated that he may meet bilaterally with Tokyo's chief nuclear envoy.

S. Korean nuke envoy in D.C. for talks on N. Korea

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, April 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea, the U.S. and Japan will seek ways to avert future North Korean provocations and discuss contingency plans in case their efforts fail, when their top point men on the communist nation gather in Washington, D.C. this week, a South Korean official said Sunday. Hwang Joon-kook, Seoul's new special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, also indicated that he may meet bilaterally with Tokyo's chief nuclear envoy.

S. Korea's new nuclear envoy heads to U.S. for talks on N. Korea

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new nuclear envoy left for the United States on Sunday for talks with his American and Japanese counterparts on how to deal with North Korea's latest nuclear threat, an official said. Hwang Joon-kook is scheduled to meet with Glyn Davies, Washington's special representative for North Korea policy, and his Japanese counterpart, Junichi Ihara, in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the foreign ministry official said. Hwang also plans to hold a separate bilateral meeting with Davies and Ihara, according to the official.

N. Korea slams South's missile test 'farce'

North Korea has slammed the South's recent ballistic missile test, calling it a "farce" aimed at showing off Seoul's military strength in the face of threats from Pyongyang. Seoul said Friday it had successfully test-fired a new ballistic missile capable of carrying a one-tonne payload up to 500 kilometres (310 miles), suggesting it could hit any part of the North. The launch was carried out on March 23, just three days before the North test-fired two medium-range ballistic missiles capable of striking Japan.

S. Korea's new nuclear envoy heads to U.S. for talks on N. Korea

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new nuclear envoy left for the United States on Sunday for talks with his American and Japanese counterparts on how to deal with North Korea's latest nuclear threat, an official said. Hwang Joon-kook is scheduled to meet with Glyn Davies, Washington's special representative for North Korea policy, and his Japanese counterpart, Junichi Ihara, in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the foreign ministry official said. Hwang also plans to hold a separate bilateral meeting with Davies and Ihara, according to the official.

Japan ordered SDF to destroy any N. Korean missiles launched

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Thursday ordered the nation's Self-Defense Forces to destroy North Korean ballistic missiles if any are launched and threaten to fall within Japanese territory, a government source said Saturday. In response to the order, the source said, the SDF quickly deployed the Aegis-equipped destroyer Kirishima carrying Standard Missile-3 interceptors to the Sea of Japan, which lies between the Japanese archipelago and the Korean Peninsula.

Japan to intercept any North Korea missile deemed a threat

By Nobuhiro Kubo TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will strike any North Korean ballistic missile that threatens to hit Japan in the coming weeks after Pyongyang recently fired medium-range missiles, a government source said on Saturday. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera issued the order, which took effect on Thursday and runs through April 25, the day that marks the founding of North Korea's army, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

N. Korea slams S. Korean missile test

SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea blasted South Korea on Saturday for test-firing a missile capable of hitting anywhere in the communist country, saying that Seoul will no longer be justified to blame it for launching rockets. In a report carried by the state Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), monitored in Seoul, a spokesman for the North Korean Army's Strategic Force said it was "a great irony" that South Korea is celebrating a successful test-fire of a ballistic missile when it has been denouncing the North's missile launches.
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