Friday, April 13, 2012

UN Security Council to meet on N.Korea rocket launch amid international outcry

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council will meet in emergency session on Friday to discuss the situation in North Korea after Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket, a UN diplomat said Thursday.

The diplomat told AFP the 15-member Council would meet "to decide its next step" following the launch, which the United States and several other nations have claimed is in fact a disguised missile test.

In London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed "deep concern" over North Korea's long-range rocket launch and called for a robust response from the international community.

"I am deeply concerned about the DPRK's satellite launch today," Hague said in a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

"Such a launch uses ballistic missile technology and, as such, is a clear violation of UNSCR 1874."

Britain plans to summon North Korea's ambassador in Britain to warn him "to expect a strong response from the international community if it continues to develop its missile and nuclear capabilities," Hague said.

The German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has also added his voice to the international outcry.

"I condemn the attempt for a rocket launch by North Korea.

This is a violation of international obligations and will increase tensions on the Korean peninsula," Westerwelle told AFP during a visit to New York.

"The Security Council of the United Nations must give a strong answer to this violation of international law," said Westerwelle, who was in New York to launch Germany's campaign to get a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

Westerwelle had earlier been in Washington for two days of talks among the Group of Eight foreign ministers.

That grouping issued a statement shortly before the launch, demanding that Pyongyang scrap its plans for the launch.

In an unusually strongly worded statement, the G8 ministers said they "demand that the DPRK not conduct the launch," referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there was "no doubt" the launch would use ballistic missile technology -- a violation of UN Security Council resolutions approved in 2009 -- and warned North Korea it faced a "clear choice."

She said Pyongyang "can pursue peace and reap the benefits of closer ties with the international community, including the United States, or it can continue to face pressure and isolation."

North Korea has said the rocket would place a satellite in orbit for peaceful research purposes, but Western critics see the launch as a thinly veiled ballistic missile test, banned by United Nations resolutions.

The North Korean rocket was launched around 7:40am (2240 GMT Thursday) before disintegrating and losing altitude said officials in Japan, South Korea and the US who had been monitoring the launch.

"A few minutes after the launch, the rocket disintegrated into several pieces and lost its altitude," defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told journalists.

A high ranking military source was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency as saying "The debris fell into the sea some 190km-200km (118-124 miles) west of (the southwestern port of) Kunsan".

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan summarised later that North Korea's rocket launch had failed.

"North Korea fired a de-facto long-range missile this morning, but it ended in failure," he told journalists in Seoul.

-AFP/sf

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Source From Channel News Asia

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