Russia, China urge North Korea to abandon missile launch

Featured - December 4th, 2012

Russia and China urged North Korea to drop its plan to launch a missile later this month, a move that could stoke global tensions over provocations from Pyongyang.

Both countries, which have strong ties with the North, expressed concern over the rocket launch and warned the rogue state of repercussions if it presses ahead, Reuters reports.

“We urgently appeal to the government of North Korea to reconsider the decision to launch a rocket,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that Pyongyang had been warned that the launch would violate a UN Security Council resolution which “unambiguously prohibits from launching rockets using ballistic technology.”

China, however, played down its criticism and acknowledged Pyongyang’s right to develop a ‘peaceful’ space program.

“China believes that maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the Northeast Asia accords with the interests of all sides and is the joint responsibility of all sides,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

“In the present circumstances, we hope all sides can be calm and restrained and not take any moves to worsen the problem. China will remain in touch and coordinate with all sides.”

North Korea announced it would put a satellite into orbit for the second time this year, following its failed attempt in April. The US believes that Pyongyang is using the rocket launch as cover for a missile test.