US, SKorea, Japan envoys on NKorea to meet: media

TOKYO, March 24, 2009 (AFP) - The US, South Korean and Japanese envoys to North Korea denuclearisation talks plan to meet in Washington on Friday ahead of the regime's expected rocket launch, Japanese media reported.

Their first three-way meeting since US President Barack Obama took office would aim to show their unified stance against North Korea's planned rocket launch, Kyodo news agency reported Tuesday quoting unnamed sources.

Global concern has been mounting about North Korea's announcement it would launch a communications satellite between April 4 and 8.

The United States, Japan and other allies believe Pyongyang is actually testing a missile that could, in theory, reach Alaska.

A top US general last week said the United States could shoot down the projectile if it was determined to be a ballistic missile, and Japan also said it would try to shoot down any rocket heading for its territory.

North Korea has resisted pressure to call off the launch and warned that any attempt to shoot down the rocket would be regarded as an act of war.

China, meanwhile, has called on all sides to exercise restraint and return to the stalled six-nation nuclear talks, which group China, the United States, North and South Korea, Japan and Russia.

Source: AFP

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