China Cautions North Korea Against Missile Launch

China reportedly summoned North Korea's ambassador to Beijing to convey a warning to Pyongyang against launching a long-range test missile, Kyodo News agency reported Thursday.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei conveyed the warning to North Korean Ambassador Choe Jin Su in a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing last week, Kyodo said, quoting unnamed diplomatic officials.

On Wednesday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Beijing was paying close attention to North Korea's reported move to test-fire a ballistic missile. He urged North Korea to avoid any actions that would aggravate regional tensions and further derail long-stalled negotiations on its nuclear programs.

CountryWatch: North Korea

As North Korea's closest ally and a critical provider of fuel and other economic assistance, China carries unusual weight in diplomacy to engage the isolated country's government.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry would not immediately comment on Wu's reported warning to the North Korean ambassador.

According to intelligence reports, a Taepodong-2, capable of reaching parts of the U.S., was being fueled at a launch pad on North Korea's northeastern coast.

North Korea has test-fired short-range missiles in recent years, but has abided by a moratorium since its 1999 agreement with the United States.

North Korea shocked the region in 1998 when part of a Taepodong-1 missile flew over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.