North Korea urged to reconsider launch

Dec. 3, 2012 at 11:20 AM
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MOSCOW, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Russia issued an urgent appeal to the North Korean government Monday to "reconsider" a rocket launch scheduled for this month.

The North Korean government last weekend announced plans to fire a rocket carrying a satellite sometime in the Dec. 10-22 period. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday it was joining a chorus of international voices expressing concern about the launch.

"We strongly appeal to the North Korean government to reconsider the decision to launch the rocket," the ministry was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

Last month, reports based on commercial satellite imagery suggested North Korea was preparing work at launch sites in the country.

China has recognized North Korea's right to the peaceful use of outer space but warned Pyongyang against taking actions that could upset the international community, the official Xinhua news agency reports.

The U.S. and British governments expressed similar concerns.

"A North Korean 'satellite' launch would be a highly provocative act that threatens peace and security in the region," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

Similar launches in 2006 and 2009 coincided with North Korean nuclear tests. North Korea failed in a similar launch effort in April.

South Korean presidential elections are scheduled during the latest planned launch window.

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