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China watching Korean security closely

Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:23 PM

BEIJING, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- There are deep-rooted security concerns developing on the Korean Peninsula following this week's rocket North Korean launch, a Chinese official said.

North Korea was criticized by the international community for its decision to send a satellite into orbit this week using a long-range rocket.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday that Beijing was in contact with all parties concerned about the regional security situation in the wake of the launch.

"China has stayed in contact with all relevant parties on the situation of the Korean Peninsula," he was quoted by China's official Xinhua news agency as saying. "The volatility of the situation on the Korean Peninsula is rooted in security concerns."

Beijing said the launch highlights the need to resume multilateral negotiations with Pyongyang over its nuclear ambitions. Launches in 2006 and 2009 were timed in coordination with North Korean nuclear tests.

Victoria Nuland, Lei's U.S. counterpart, described the launch as a "highly provocative" action that represented a direct threat to regional security. A decision by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to go ahead with the launch, she added, was "a mistake."

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