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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Clinton warns North Korea over missile launch plans

RIA Novosti

26/03/2009 14:48 MEXICO CITY, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned North Korea that the firing of a missile of any kind would be a "provocative act" that could harm the six-party negotiations on the country's denuclearization.

North Korea announced plans last month to launch what it says is a communications satellite from the newly constructed Musudan-ri launch pad on the country's northeast coast. However, the U.S., Japan and South Korea believe that the secretive communist state is in fact planning to test its Taepodong-2 long-range missile.

Speaking to journalists in Mexico City, Clinton said the launch would be a violation of a UN Security Council resolution banning North Korea from ballistic activities.

"We intend to raise this violation of the Security Council resolution, if it goes forward, in the U.N.," she said. "This provocative action in violation of the U.N. mandate will not go unnoticed and there will be consequences."

The UN Security Council passed Resolution 1718 on October 14, 2006, forbidding North Korea from conducting further nuclear tests or launches of ballistic missiles.

"We have made it very clear that the North Koreans pursue this pathway at a cost and with consequences to the six-party talks, which we would like to see revived," Clinton said.

The talks, involving the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, China and Japan, came to a standstill last December, over North Korea's refusal to allow international inspections at nuclear sites.

North Korea tested the Taepodong-2 missile in July 2006, but it malfunctioned about a minute after take-off.

Japan has said it is ready to intercept the North Korean rocket if it poses a threat. South Korea has also urged its neighbor to call off the launch.

However, Russia's foreign minister took a more cautious stance, warning countries against jumping to conclusions over the launch.

"We believe it is important not to draw hasty conclusions, but to work from facts, and not to pass judgment before the event has taken place," Sergei Lavrov told a news conference on Thursday, urging Pyongyang however to comply with the UN resolution.

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