Russia, China urge North Korea to drop rocket launch plan

Mon Dec 3, 2012 4:01pm EST
 

MOSCOW/BEIJING (Reuters) - Russia and China urged North Korea on Monday not to go ahead with a plan for its second rocket launch of 2012, with Moscow saying any such move would violate restrictions imposed by the U.N. Security Council.

North Korea's state news agency on Saturday announced the decision to launch another space satellite and reportedly told neighbors it would take a path similar to that planned for a failed rocket launch in April.

"We urgently appeal to the government (of North Korea) to reconsider the decision to launch a rocket," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

North Korea on Monday notified the U.N. shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization, about the launch, which was scheduled to take place between December 10 and December 22 at between 1600 and 2100 GMT.

Coordinates provided by Pyongyang showed the rocket's first stage drop-off would take place off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula and the second stage would occur off the Philippines - both stages nowhere near Japan.

Echoing its criticism of the April launch, Russia said North Korea had been warned not to ignore a U.N. Security Council resolution which "unambiguously prohibits (it) from launching rockets using ballistic technology".

China was not so direct in its criticism of North Korea, but urged "all sides" not to take any action that "worsens the problem".

"China believes that maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia accords with the interests of all sides and is the joint responsibility of all sides," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

"In the present circumstances, we hope all sides can be calm and restrained and not take any moves to worsen the problem. China will remain in touch and coordinate with all sides."   Continued...