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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow 'Regrets' N.Korean Rocket Launch

RIA Novosti

13:21 12/12/2012

MOSCOW, December 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russia expressed its "deep regret" over North Korea's long-range rocket launch on Wednesday and called on Pyongyang to refrain from further action which could increase tension in the region.

"This step is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1874, unequivocally banning North Korea from rocket launches with the use of ballistic technologies," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. 'We urge North Korea not to take new steps in conflict with UN Security Council resolutions," the Foreign Ministry said.

A North Korean three-stage rocket sent the second Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite into orbit on Wednesday. The launch marks a historic success for North Korea's rocket program following a series of failures, including one in April when a rocket exploded shortly after lift-off.

Moscow also called on other countries to abstain from taking action that would aggravate the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and hinder resumption of talks on resolving problems in Northeast Asia.

Russia's Defense Ministry registered the launch and said that the rocket did not pose a "danger for Russia."

Debris from the rocket's first stage fell into the Yellow Sea 200 km west of the Korean Peninsula, while the second stage separated above the East China Sea and the third stage fell some 300 km off the Philippines' eastern coast in the Pacific, according to the Japanese authorities.

The UN Security Council has called an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss possible responses to the rocket launch, a source in UN headquarters told RIA Novosti.

The launch drew criticism from a range of countries, including the United States, Japan and Britain.

The US Department of State confirmed on Wednesday that it had registered the launch and would continue to monitor the situation in the region.

White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor issued a statement calling the launch a "highly provocative act that threatens regional security."

"Japan considers it inadmissible and expresses its strong objections," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said. Tokyo will seek an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the issue as soon as possible, Kyodo news agency reported.

Japan is planning responsive measures in cooperation with the US, South Korea, China and Russia, Fujimura said.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague "strongly condemned" the launch.

'I deplore the fact that the DPRK has chosen to prioritize this launch over improving the livelihood of its people. We will be summoning the DPRK Ambassador to the UK to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,' Hague said in a statement.

North Korea claims its new rocket was intended for putting a satellite into outer space for peaceful purposes, but the international community has widely condemned what it believes to be the development and testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) intended to carry nuclear warheads.

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