UN chief slams North Korea for 'provocative' rocket launch

Iran Press TV

Iran Press TV

Sun Feb 7, 2016 7:5AM

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has denounced as “deeply deplorable” North Korea’s new long-range rocket launch, which Pyongyang says was aimed at putting an observation satellite into orbit.

The UN chief reiterates his call on Pyongyang to “halt its provocative actions and return to compliance with its international obligations,” Ban’s spokesman said following the early Sunday launch.

Ban “reaffirms his commitment to working with all sides in reducing tensions and achieving the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the spokesman added.

North Korea said the missile, carrying an earth observation satellite called Kwangmyongsong-4, was launched from the country’s northwestern Dongchang-ri base at around 0030 GMT, and that the satellite successfully entered orbit about 10 minutes later.

“The complete success made in the Kwangmyongsong-4 lift-off is … an epochal event in developing the country’s science, technology, economy and defense capability,” the North’s state television said.

It added that the satellite is carrying various measuring and telecommunication devices, while circling the polar orbit at a cycle of 94 minutes and 24 seconds.

However, some believe the claims are a cover for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Pyongyang’s missile draws global condemnation

Later on Sunday, the UN Security Council is slated to hold an emergency closed-door meeting in New York over the incident at 11:00 a.m. (1600 GMT) following requests by Japan, South Korea and the United States.

The three countries have slammed the launch as a violation of the Security Council resolutions that ban Pyongyang from any ballistic missile or nuclear activity.

The US and its allies want to respond with a resolution that would impose more sanctions on Pyongyang, but they must first win the support of veto-holding China, which has shielded its neighbor and close ally in the past.

Pyongyang is already under UN sanctions over launching missiles considered by the US and South Korea as ballistic and aimed at delivering nuclear warheads.

North Korea missile launch regrettable: Beijing

Meanwhile, China has “expressed regret” over North Korea’s launch of the rocket on Sunday, calling on all relevant parties to “deal with the situation calmly.”

With regards to Pyongyang’s “insistence on implementing a launch of missile technology in the face of international opposition, China expresses regret,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Missile launch ‘intolerable provocation’: Seoul

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has called the launch an “intolerable provocation.”

South Korea’s Defense Minister Han Min-koo has held an emergency meeting in Seoul with US Forces Korea commander, Curtis Scaparotti, and US Ambassador to Seoul Mark Lippert to discuss the situation.

Pyongyang missile launch ‘intolerable provocation’: Abe

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has, for his part, condemned North Korea’s latest launch of a long-range rocket, describing it as a violation of UN Security resolutions and an ‘intolerable provocation,’ while pledging to “take action to totally protect the safety and well-being of our people.”

Abe’s comments came a few days after the country’s Defense Ministry said Tokyo has ordered ballistic missile defense units in the Sea of Japan and onshore to shoot down any North Korean missile that would threaten its territory.

“Today the defense minister issued an order” to destroy such a missile if it “is confirmed that it will fall on Japanese territory,” the Japanese ministry said in a statement.

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, who issued the order, cited the “possibility that North Korea will launch a missile it calls a ‘satellite’ within coming days.”

N Korea missile launch “serious damage” to regional security: Russia

In a separate development, Russia condemned North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket on Sunday, saying that the move dealt “a serious blow” to regional security including that of Pyongyang.

‘It is obvious that such actions lead to a serious aggravation of the situation on the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia on the whole … (and) inflict serious damage to the security of the countries of the region, first and foremost North Korea itself,’ Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

‘The course chosen by Pyongyang cannot but cause a decisive protest,’ the Foreign Ministry statement said, adding, ‘We urgently recommend that the North Korean leadership think whether the policy of placing yourself in opposition to the international community is in the country’s interests.’

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