North Korea says has right to launch missiles

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SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea said on Monday it had the right to launch its longest-range missile, raising tensions just hours before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in the region for talks likely to focus on the reclusive state.

The announcement came as North Korea marked the 67th birthday of leader Kim Jong-il with displays of synchronized swimming and aging cadres praising a “peerlessly great man,” who appears to have recovered from a suspected stroke in August.

South Korean media reports say Pyongyang has been preparing its longest-range Taepodong-2 missile for a test while officials in Seoul have been anticipating a short-range missile test near a disputed sea border where navies from the two side have clashed in the past.

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE51E04F20090216

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