Russia urges North Korea to reconsider rocket launch
Pyongyang installs rocket on launch pad, first stage complete
Russia on Monday strongly urged North Korea to reconsider its plan to launch a rocket later this month, saying Moscow regretted the move.
“We vehemently ask the North Korean government to reconsider the decision to launch the rocket,” the foreign ministry said, adding it had heard of the news of the plan “with regret”.
North Korea announced Saturday that it would carry out its second long-range rocket launch this year between December 10 and 22.
Pyongyang insists it is a purely “peaceful, scientific” mission aimed at placing a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite in orbit.
But Russia said the launch would violate UN Security Council resolution 1874 which “unambiguously” prohibits Pyongyang from carrying out ballistic missile launches.
“North Korea, as a member of the United Nations, is obliged to obey UN Security Council decisions,” the Russian statement said.
The first rocket stage now has been placed in position at the North’s Sohae satellite launch station, a South Korean government source told Yonhap news agency.
North Korea has installed the first stage of a long-range rocket it plans to launch this month on the launch pad, defying international calls to cancel the mission, a report said on Monday.
North Korea announced on Saturday that it would carry out its second long-range rocket launch this year between December 10 and 22.
The United States and its key Asian allies South Korea and Japan have condemned the launch as a disguised ballistic missile test that violates UN resolutions triggered by Pyongyang’s two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
The first stage has been placed in position at the North’s Sohae satellite launch station, a South Korean government source told Yonhap news agency.
Japan cancelled scheduled diplomatic talks with North Korea and has reportedly issued orders to shoot down the missile if it strays into Japanese territory.
North Korea insists it is a purely “peaceful, scientific” mission aimed at placing a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite in orbit.
In a notification to neighbouring countries, Pyongyang said the launch timing would be between 7.00am and midday (8.00am HKT) on any day in the given window, Yonhap quoted a foreign ministry official as saying.
According to the notice, the first stage would fall into the Yellow Sea off the Korean peninsula’s west coast and the second would come down in the sea some 190 kilometres east of the Philippines.
South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy Lim Sung-Nam was to meet with ambassadors from China, Russia and Japan in Seoul on Monday to discuss the planned launch, a foreign ministry official said.
China, the North’s closest ally, has expressed “concern” at the launch plan, with the foreign ministry urging “relevant parties [to] act in a way that is more conducive to the stability of the Korean peninsula”.
Lim also plans to visit the United States on Tuesday for talks with his US counterpart, Glyn Davies.
“Lim’s trip will focus on how to respond to the North’s rocket launch,” the official told reporters.
The North’s last rocket launch, in April, ended in failure with the carrier flying for just over two minutes before breaking up and falling into the Yellow Sea.