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Fuel sent to North Korea missile site

North Korea delivered rocket fuel this week to the launch site where U.S. officials think it is preparing to test fire a long-range missile in defiance of American warnings, the Associated Press reported Friday.

The fuel deliveries were an additional indication that North Korea may test as early as this month, although no missile has been detected at the site, the news agency quoted a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity as saying.

U.S. intelligence also has detected activity by North Korean radars at the launch facility, including those radars expected to be used in tracking a ballistic missile in flight, the official said.

The issue is particularly sensitive because the United States and South Korea have insisted that North Korea abandon its ballistic missile development as a condition of normalizing relations.

The Pentagon on June 30 first publicly acknowledged that U.S. intelligence had detected "some preparations" for a launch in coming weeks or months, but it has declined to be more specific.

The Clinton administration has repeatedly said that a missile test launch would have "serious consequences" for North Korea but has not threatened military retaliation.

North Korea's first launch of a Taepo Dong missile, last Aug. 31, took the U.S. government by surprise. The missile, with an estimated range of 1,000 miles, flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific.

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