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UN Security Council to meet over N. Korean launch
by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) Dec 12, 2012

India condemns N. Korea rocket launch, tests own missile
New Delhi (AFP) Dec 12, 2012 - India condemned North Korea's long-range rocket launch on Wednesday even as it tested one of its own ballistic weapons, which were developed when India was a nuclear pariah itself.

"India expresses its concern at the launch of a rocket... in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874. India calls on DPRK to refrain from such actions," a foreign ministry statement.

"This unwarranted action... has adversely impacted peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula," it added about the launch which provoked global outrage and triggered plans for an emergency session of the UN Security Council.

Earlier Wednesday, defence scientists successfully test-fired India's medium-range nuclear-capable "Agni I" missile from a site off the eastern coast of the country.

The missile, which has been tested repeatedly before, has a range of 700 kilometres (420 miles), capable of hitting targets in regional rival Pakistan.

India was subject to US-led sanctions on its nuclear programme after its first atomic test in 1974. These were hardened in 1998 when New Delhi declared itself a nuclear weapons state after conducting five test nuclear explosions.

New Delhi refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which it views as discriminatory and in favour of existing nuclear powers.

Following efforts to be compliant with these international agreements, in 2008 it received a waiver from the countries party to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, giving it access to foreign civilian nuclear technology and resources.

In April this year, India test-fired the "Agni V" missile for the first time which has a range of more than 5,000 kilometres and is capable of delivering a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in rival China.

The test provoked little concern or condemnation, which many analysts said pointed to India's acceptance as a responsible user of nuclear and missile technology.

Nuclear-armed North Korea insisted that its rocket launch was a purely peaceful scientific project designed to place a satellite in orbit.

But the United States and allies South Korea and Japan view it as a disguised ballistic missile test banned under the UN resolutions triggered by its nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

EU threatens fresh sanctions over N. Korea rocket launch
Brussels (AFP) Dec 12, 2012 - The European Union threatened fresh sanctions against North Korea Wednesday, condemning its long-range rocket launch as a violation of international law.

"The EU will consider an appropriate response, in close consultation with key partners... including possible additional restrictive measures," foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

The launch was "another step in a long-running attempt by the DPRK (North Korea) to acquire ballistic missile technology and is thus a clear violation of the DPRKs international obligations...," she added.

"I urge the DPRK to comply, without delay, fully and unconditionally with its obligations under relevant UN Security Council Resolutions..."

Earlier Wednesday, North Korea fired a long-range rocket days before the first anniversary of its former ruler's death.

The launch, which has magnified the threat posed by the nuclear-armed state, provoked swift condemnation from the United States and other countries.

Russia and China both issued statements expressing regret at the launch.

The UN Security Council will meet Wednesday to discuss North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket in defiance of threats of sanctions, a Western diplomat said.

"The Japanese and the Americans have requested a Security Council meeting, which will take place late Wednesday morning" around 11:00 am (1700 GMT), the diplomat said.

Japan's chief government spokesman Osamu Fujimura told reporters in Tokyo that the Japanese envoy had already called for UN Security Council president Morocco to "swiftly summon" the council to a meeting.

The Western diplomat predicted the special talks would likely see a "strong response" at the council to the rocket launch that Seoul, Tokyo and their Western allies swiftly condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test that violates UN resolutions triggered by Pyongyang's two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

North Korea had confirmed hours earlier the launch of a long-range rocket and said it had succeeded in its mission of placing a satellite into orbit.

A previous launch of the same Unha-3 rocket in April had ended in failure, with the carrier exploding shortly after take-off.

In 2006, the Security Council imposed an embargo against North Korea on arms and material for ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. It also banned imports of luxury goods and named individuals and companies to be subject to a global assets freeze and travel ban.

In 2009, it imposed a ban on North Korea's weapons exports and ordered all countries to search suspect shipments.

According to Japanese reports, Japan, the United States and South Korea have agreed to demand the Security Council strengthen sanctions on North Korea to levels that match those on Iran.

That would include increasing the list of financial institutions, entities and individuals subject to asset freezes.

Much will depend on the stance taken by UN veto holder China, North Korea's sole major ally and its biggest trade partner and aid provider.

China 'regrets' N. Korea rocket launch
Beijing (AFP) Dec 12, 2012 - China expressed regret Wednesday at North Korea's long-range rocket launch, echoing a similar reaction from Russia and following strong condemnation from the United States.

"We express regret at the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's launch in spite of the extensive concerns of the international community," said foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei, using North Korea's formal name.

He said Pyongyang should observe "relevant" resolutions of the United Nations Security Council -- which has imposed sanctions against the North over its ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.

China, North Korea's sole major ally and its biggest trading partner and aid provider, is seen as one of the few nations with any influence over its regime and had previously expressed concerns over the launch.

Over the past decade, China has repeatedly called for calm as North Korea tested nuclear weapons and carried out ballistic missile tests, despite wide condemnation from the international community.

Following Wednesday's launch, Beijing again urged all sides to ensure calm.

"China always maintains that the fundamental approach to the realisation of ensuring peace and stability of the Korean peninsula should be found through dialogue," Hong said.

"We hope relevant parties will keep calm and jointly maintain the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula."

He reiterated China's stance that "the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has the right to make peaceful use of outer space but this right is also subject to the restriction of relevant UN Security Council resolutions".

But he did not answer directly when asked whether the launch violated UN resolutions, instead repeating the call for calm and peace.

North Korea insisted the mission was not a banned intercontinental missile test but was designed to place a scientific satellite in orbit, and said it had achieved all its objectives.

In a commentary after the launch China's state news agency Xinhua called for all sides to exercise restraint.

"All parties concerned should stay cool-headed and refrain from stoking the flames so as to prevent the situation from spiralling out of control," it said.

"In place of bellicose rhetoric and gestures, they need to take concrete actions to foster a conducive milieu for dialogue and return to the negotiating table as soon as possible."

Xinhua urged a resumption of long-stalled six-party talks over the North's nuclear programme, which are chaired by China and take in both Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia.

"For years, the situation on the peninsula seems to have entered a reinforcing loop of misunderstanding, mistrust and animosity. The only viable way begins with trust-building," the agency said.

"In international relations, as in life, the best way to make an enemy of a country is to treat it like one," it said. "This rule of thumb is also true with making friends."


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Limited options to punish N. Korea rocket launch
Seoul (AFP) Dec 11, 2012
With North Korea seemingly intent on going ahead with its planned rocket launch, the international community must decide how it can punish a country that has proved largely impervious to past sanctions. The options open to the United States and its allies are limited by several factors, not least that individually and collectively they have already exercised most of what little leverage they ... read more

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