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G8 'Ready To Consider Measures Against N. Korea' Over Rocket Launch

Foreign Ministers from the Group of Eight (G8) nations have indicated an imminent punitive action against North Korea in response to its rocket launch defying warnings from the international community.

Condemning the launch, they said in a statement that "we are ready to consider, with others, taking measures responding to all activities of the DPRK that violate U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and calling for appropriate response by the United Nations Security Council."

The Security Council plans to meet later on Friday to discuss how to respond to the failed launch.

North Korea's controversial launch of a new satellite-bearing rocket, which was seen as part of Pyongyang's preparation for a possible nuclear test, failed as it broke apart before escaping the earth's atmosphere and fell into the sea on Friday morning (local time).

A two-day meeting in Washington of the ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States ended before the failed rocket launch.

In a statement issued late on Thursday night, the G-8 Foreign Ministers said the launch was a violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1695, 1718, and 1874. Sharing the view that the launch undermines regional peace and stability, they called on Pyongyang to abstain from further launches using ballistic missile technology or other actions which aggravate the situation on the Korean peninsula.

They urged the reclusive Communist nation to meet its international commitments including those under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks; comply with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular by abandoning all its nuclear weapons and its existing nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner.

The North Korean government has also been urged to cease its uranium enrichment activities, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874; and take concrete and irreversible steps toward denuclearization.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who chaired the meeting, told reporters that the new regime in Pyongyang that assumed power since the death in December of longtime leader Kim Jong Il must refrain from pursuing "a cycle of provocation."

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan said "North Korea should take due responsibility for this." He spoke by phone with his American counterpart and they pledged to take "resolute" action against the North's rocket launch, South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted an official as saying. Hwan and Clinton also agreed to refer the issue to the U.N. Security Council, it added.

White House said that "the U.S. remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and is fully committed to the security of its allies in the region. North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts, and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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