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DPRK satellite launch plan triggers int'l concerns


12:30, March 17, 2012

BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The United States, Russia, China and South Korea, as well as the United Nations all voiced their concerns Friday over a satellite launch plan announced by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Earlier on Friday, the DPRK announced it will launch in mid-April an "earth observation" satellite, or the Kwangmyongsong-3, using a long-range rocket to mark the 100th birthday of its late leader Kim Il Sung.

The U.S. Defense Department warned Friday that the launch of a long-range rocket would violate a series of UN resolutions and considered it as a "destabilizing behavior" to the Asia-Pacific region.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby urged the DPRK leadership to "reconsider this decision and to conform to their obligations under those sanctions."

"We continue to operate every day with our South Korean counterparts and we hold firmly to our alliance obligations and to security on the Korean Peninsula," said Kirby.

He added that the Defense Department is "very comfortable with the full range of military capabilities we have at our disposal in the Asia Pacific region and in and around the Korean peninsula."

The U.S. State Department also said the launch plan could jeopardize nascent efforts to restart nuclear negotiations with the DPRK and made it "very hard" to go forward with its planned food assistance to the DPRK.

"Were we to have the launch, it would create obviously tensions and that would make the implementation of any kind of nutritional agreement quite difficult," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, hinting that the DPRK's latest move was "an abrogation of that agreement."

According to a deal reached between Pyongyang and Washington in Beijing late last month, the United States agreed to provide 240,000 tons of food as aid to the DPRK in exchange for Pyongyang's promise to impose a moratorium on nuclear tests and missile launches, and allow checks by international nuclear inspectors.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed the DPRK's launch plan as "highly provocative," warning that such a launch would pose a threat to regional security and would also be inconsistent with the DPRK's recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches.

Clinton urged the DPRK to "adhere to its international obligations, including all relevant UN Security Council resolutions," adding that Washington is consulting closely with its international partners on the next steps.

Meanwhile, Russia said it was also seriously concerned about Pyongyang's rocket launch plan, urging it not to proceed with it.

Russia's foreign ministry called on the DPRK not to oppose itself to the international community, and create additional difficulties for restarting the six-party talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

Moscow also said the resumption of the long-stalled talks and diplomatic solutions are the only viable option available to both terminate the nuclear problems in the region and to lift the UN sanctions against the country, which is prohibited from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology.

However, the ministry also said Moscow had never denied the DPRK's sovereign right to pursue peaceful space programs and urged all parties involved to exercise maximum restraint.

The DPRK's neighboring country South Korea Friday also voiced its "serious concern" over the plan, calling it a "grave provocation threatening the peace and security" on the Korean Peninsula as well as Northeast Asia.

The South Korean foreign ministry said it would work closely with related countries, including members of the six-party talks, to urge the DPRK to "immediately stop provocative act and abide by its international obligations."

Also on Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is "seriously concerned" about the DPRK's satellite launch.

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Leave your comment4 comments

  1. Name

Riw at 2012-03-2324.215.200.*
NK should definitely change for good.
Richard at 2012-03-1860.53.162.*
Presumably the threats of US-South Korean military exercises in the area do not threaten world peace, nor the latter"s military buildup at Jeju island, nor the launching of space vehicles by Japan.What hypocrites. A once highly moral China has now become as contemptible as the imperialists.
romanov at 2012-03-1880.94.16.*
2012-2-17.DR2012-2-17.If a peaceful space program DPRK it everything international at legal law.USA to break right every country for development sciene.Space not owership US.
Todd at 2012-03-18108.32.203.*
How is the DPRK suppose to launch a satellite into space without using long range misslie technology?

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