Ban urges N Korea to reconsider missile plan

2012-03-24 21:01
Seoul - UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has urged North Korea to reconsider its plan to launch a satellite into space next month, South Korean officials said on Saturday after talks in Seoul.

He met with South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and they agreed the rocket launch plan would be a "serious provocation" to the international community and in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, the presidential office said in a statement.

North Korea said last week it planned to launch an observation satellite, the Kwangmyongsong-3, borne by the Unha-3 rocket, between April 12 and 16 to mark the centenary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung, on April 15.

Ban has travelled to Seoul to attend next week's Nuclear Security Summit. North Korea's launch plans are expected to feature in talks on the sidelines of that event with world figures.

The South Koreans and the United States fear that the satellite launch is to provide a cover for testing a long-range ballistic missile that could later be used to deliver nuclear warheads.

Japan has ordered its air force to prepare for activation of its missile defence system, it was reported on Friday, in order to destroy a North Korean rocket if it passes through the country's airspace.

North Korea's official media meanwhile reported that the country's legislature would meet next month to approve the power handover from the late ruler, Kim Jong Il, to his son, Kim Jong Un.

The session would take place on April 13 in Pyongyang. Analysts will be paying close attention to whether the son will be made chairperson of North Korea's National Defence Commission, a position that would formally make him supreme commander.

The media gave no word on what else was on the agenda. The parliament generally serves as a rubber stamp for decisions by the strongman leader and the ruling Workers' Party.

Kim Jong Un was declared leader in December after the end of mourning for his father.

Read more on:    un  |  kim jong un  |  ban ki-moon  |  north korea

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