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US Urges N. Korea To Cancel 'Highly Provocative' Missile Launch

The United States has urged North Korea to abandon plans to launch its new satellite-carrying rocket, which is seen as part of Pyongyang's preparation for a possible nuclear test.

North Korea's launch of a missile would be highly provocative, it would pose a threat to regional security and would be inconsistent with its recent undertakings to refrain from any kind of long-range missile launches, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in reply questions at a routine briefing on Monday.

"We consider that it would be a violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution 1718 and 1874. So we are continuing to make the point that it is a bad idea to do this," she said.

Nuland said the United States was also working with its counterparts in the Six-Party Talks to try to make the same points to North Korea and to urge all of the six countries to use their influence on the Communist regime. "We believe in particular that China joins us in its interest in seeing a denuclearized Korean peninsula, and we are continuing to encourage China in particular to act more effectively in that interest," Nuland added.

She urged those nations in the region to be on high alert because of the missile launch and other threats.

She made it clear that "any of these types of action are just going to further isolate them and make it harder for them to be part of the world community and to give their people a better quality of life."

Foreign reporters were invited to view the placement of the new North Korean satellite on its launch pad in the north-western cost of Tongchang-ri, scheduled for later this week.

The international community is saying that the building and launch of the Unha-3 rocket violates two U.N. Security Council resolutions and amount to a tacit admission that the reclusive East Asian nation has been working on missile technology.

But North Korea says the launch is meant for "peaceful purposes," and to mark the birth centenary of its founder-leader Kim Il-sung which falls on April 15.

by RTT Staff Writer

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