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U.S. wants DPRK to drop satellite launch

(Xinhua)

09:34, March 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, March 19 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. State Department said on Monday that Washington hoped that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will drop its plan to launch a satellite in April.

"Obviously, we were heartened that every single one of the six- party talks participants made clear that they think that this would be an extremely bad idea and a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, so we are hoping and expecting that the DPRK will take that to heart," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland at a briefing.

The DPRK announced on Friday that it will launch in 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 announcement came 17 days after the DPRK agreed to impose a moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches and allow international nuclear inspectors to return to the country. In return, the United States agreed to provide the country with 240,000 tons of food aid.

The United States said last Friday that it is "very hard" to go forward with its planned food assistance to the DPRK if the latter moves ahead with the plan to launch a satellite.

In response to DPRK's offer to invite UN inspectors back to the country, Nuland told reporters that "there's benefit for any access that the IAEA can get."

But she also stressed that despite DPRK's invitation, a satellite launch would still be considered to be a violation to the country's UN obligations and related commitments.

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