NK urged to obey UN rules

By Xu Tianran Source:Global Times Published: 2012-12-3 1:05:05

China Sunday urged North Korea to abide by UN resolutions that limit ballistic missile programs, while calling for calm from all sides after South Korea, Japan and the US protested Pyongyang's announcement Saturday that it would launch another satellite in December.

According to a statement released on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, spokesman Qin Gang said North Korea "has the right to the peaceful use of outer space, but the right should be exercised within the limitations of UN Security Council resolutions."

"China hopes all parties concerned can act in a way that is more conducive to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, and avoid escalating the situation," Qin said.

Japan has reacted by threatening to shoot down the rocket. Japanese defense minister Naoki Tanaka was quoted by local media as saying that he had instructed the military to prepare its missile shield.

North Korea's second satellite of the Kwangmyongsong-3 series will blast off southward from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan county, carried by an Unha-3 rocket, between December 10 and 22, according to North Korean authorities.

"Beijing's stance has clearly sent a signal that it wishes Pyongyang not to conduct the launch in regard to regional stability," Lü Chao, a Korean Peninsula issues researcher at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times, noting that the period was timed to coincide with South Korea's presidential election, which kick off on December 19, and the first anniversary of Kim Jong-il's death on December 17.

The South Korean Yonhap News Agency commented Sunday that the launch fits Pyongyang's behavior of escalating tensions and intensifying anti-conservative rhetoric to underscore its point that Seoul should have liberal leaders that are softer on Pyongyang.

"North Korea's attempt to influence South Korea's presidential election won't work," South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was quoted by Yonhap as saying.

Also on Sunday, the US said North Korea's plan was a "highly provocative act" that would threaten peace and violate UN sanctions. "Any North Korean launch using ballistic missile technology is in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolutions," said US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in a written statement, according to Reuters.

However, Pyongyang's will to pursue rocket carrier technology and nuclear weapons is unwavering, according to Lü. "And there is not much the international community can do about it. Sanctions do not work on Pyongyang," he noted.

Ignoring UN condemnation and resolutions unanimously passed by the Security Council in 2009 to put sanctions on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, Pyongyang blasted off its Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite on April 13 2012, two days before the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korea's "founding father" Kim Il-sung.

The Unha-3 carrier rocket exploded shortly after takeoff. The launch resulted in Washington suspending food aid to Pyongyang.

A spokesman for North Korea's Korean Committee for Space Technology said scientists have "analyzed the mistakes" made in the April launch and improved the precision of its Unha rocket.

"The two Koreas are in a race to become the first to enter the international space club. If successful, the launch will also boost the morale of the North Koreans and lift the country's international status," Lü said.

South Korea was forced to delay its third attempt to put a satellite into orbit on Thursday. The countdown was halted 17 minutes before the rocket was to have launched.

According to the ANI News Agency on Sunday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda indicated his readiness to urge Pyongyang, in cooperation with the US, South Korea, China and Russia, not to go ahead with the launch. Tokyo will also urge Pyongyang to show restraint over its plan at bilateral director-general level talks in Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday.

North Korea had already notified Japan and other countries within the projected path of the rocket before making a public announcement, according to the Yonhap.


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