Seoul: North Korea to answer for rocket

April 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM

SEOUL, April 10 (UPI) -- North Korea can expect to be referred to the U.N. Security Council if it goes ahead with a planned long-range rocket launch, Seoul said.

North Korea moved a long-range rocket to a launch pad this week in preparation for what it says is the deployment of an Earth observation satellite. Some governments contend that plan is in breach of Security Council resolutions banning intercontinental missile tests.

Cho Byung-jae, a spokesman for the South Korean Foreign Ministry, said if the launch takes place as planned, it would be a clear violation of Security Council resolutions.

"If the long-range missile launch takes place as announced, I think it is certain the issue will be discussed by the U.N. Security Council," he was quoted by South Korea's Yonhap news service as saying.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spoke by phone this week with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin to discuss the planned launch. The Defense Department, in a statement on the conversation, said both sides viewed the plan as a "serious provocation."

Japan and South Korea expressed concern over the launch plans, though North Korea said it would view any interference as an act of aggression.

South Korea states the rocket launch is meant as part of a celebration commemorating the 100th birthday of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung.

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