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N. Korea Announces Rocket Launch, US To 'Consult Partners'

3/16/2012 7:25 AM ET

The United States has raised alarm over North Korea's announcement on Friday that it plans to launch an observation satellite next month.

In a statement issued immediately after Pyongyang's announcement, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington was "consulting closely with our international partners on next steps."

She termed it a "direct violation of its international obligations," and "highly provocative." U.N. Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 1718 and 1874 clearly and unequivocally prohibit North Korea from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology. She warned that such a missile launch would pose a threat to regional security and would also be inconsistent with North Korea's recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches.

Clinton called on the Communist State to adhere to its international obligations, including all relevant UNSC Resolutions.

The Kwangmyongsong-3, borne by the Unha-3 carrier rocket, was to be launched between April 12 and 16 to mark the birth centenary of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung, which falls on April 15, North Korea's official KCNA news agency quoted a spokesman for the North Korean Committee for Space Technology as saying earlier in the day.

The move would "offer an important occasion of putting the country's technology of space use for peaceful purposes on a higher stage," it added.

by RTT Staff Writer

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