US renews warnings on North Korea missile test

Washington's new North Korea envoy renewed warnings that the communist nation refrain from test-firing a ballistic missile, after a South Korean official said the North is continuing preparations for such a launch. Stephen W. Bosworth, who was in China and heading for Japan on Thursday, said that Beijing and Washington were united in opposition to Pyongyang's alleged missile launch plan, saying, "We both believe it would not be a good idea to have a missile launch." Pyongyang has stepped up its provocative rhetoric of recent weeks, warning of a "merciless" retaliation against any invasion - though both Washington and South Korea dismiss talk of invading as ludicrous. Tensions are high on the Korean peninsula, with the North announcing last week it will send a communications satellite into orbit as part of its space program - a claim neighboring governments believe is a cover for a test of a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska.