South Korea says North likely to test-launch missile

SEOUL/WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – South Korea said yesterday there was a “very high” probability that North Korea, after weeks of threats of war, would test-launch a medium-range missile at any time as a show of strength.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said South Korea had asked China and Russia to intercede with the North to ease tension that has mounted since the U.N. Security Council imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea after its third nuclear arms test in February.

In Washington, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said North Korea was “skating very close to a dangerous line” with its threats and provocations, and warned the United States was prepared to respond to any moves by Pyongyang.

“We have every capacity to deal with any action that North Korea would take, to protect this country and the interests of this country and our allies,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon.

Most observers say Pyongyang has no intention of igniting a conflict that could bring its own destruction but warn of the risks of miscalculation on the highly-militarised Korean peninsula.

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