South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and a delegation of U.S. Republican Congressmen on Friday agreed that the international community should give a unified response to North Korea's planned rocket launch as it clearly violated a U.N. resolution.
The five U.S. lawmakers, including Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Richard Burr of North Carolina, arrived in Seoul early on Friday for a three-day visit during which they will have talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and a visit to the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas.
"President Lee and the U.S. Congressmen shared an understanding that North Korea's long-range rocket launch plan is a clear violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution and a serious damaging of the February 29 U.S.-North Korea agreement, and should be dealt with through a united response of the international community based on the South Korea-U.S. alliance," the Yonhap news agency quoted a presidential statement as saying.
North Korea has pledged to put a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests and to halt uranium enrichment in exchange for food aid from the U.S. as per the agreement reached in February last. Washington has warned that the planned rocket launch amounted to violation of the pact.
North Korea has announced that the rocket, designed to put a satellite into orbit, will be launched between April 12 and 16. However, the U.S. and regional powers believe that the launch is aimed at testing the North's ballistic missile technology.
Lee expressed gratitude to the U.S. lawmakers for their active contribution to strengthening the alliance between the two countries and asked for their continued support. They in turn assured that they would continue to work actively to help the alliance move forward.
South Korea and Japan have made all arrangements to shoot down the rocket if it strayed from its trajectory. Despite international pressure, North Korea appears to be readying for the rocket launch to commemorate the birth centenary of the nuclear-armed country's founder Kim Il-sung.
by RTT Staff Writer
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