North Korea rocket launch provokes outrage

2012-12-12 11:36

Hong Kong - North Korea fired a long-range rocket on Wednesday in a move that provoked outrage from regional powers and the United States, and prompted Pyongyang's only major ally China to express concern.

Herewith some of the strongest reactions:

United States:

North Korea's launch was "highly provocative" and would destabilise the region, the US National Security Council said in a statement.

The launch "is a highly provocative act that threatens regional security, directly violates United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874, contravenes North Korea's international obligations and undermines the global non-proliferation regime", said NSC spokesperson Tommy Vietor.

"Given this current threat to regional security, the United States will strengthen and increase our close co-ordination with allies and partners," Vietor said. "North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in such provocative acts."


Beijing, the North's only major ally and biggest trading partner, said it regretted the launch.

"We express regret at the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's launch in spite of the extensive concerns of the international community," said foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei.

Pyongyang should observe "relevant" resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, Lei said.

South Korea:

Seoul condemned the launch as a flagrant violation of UN resolutions and a threat to stability on the Korean peninsula.

"Our government strongly condemns, along with the international community, North Korea for ignoring repeated warnings and requests to cancel the launch and carrying on with such provocations," said Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan.

The launch was a "clear violation" of UN Security Council resolutions banning ballistic missile tests, Kim said, adding Seoul would closely co-ordinate with the international community to take "corresponding measures".

Kim urged Pyongyang to divert scant resources from nuclear and missile development to the "pressing issue" of improving living standards in the impoverished country.


Japanese officials said it "cannot tolerate" the launch of long-range rockets from Pyongyang. The launched rocket on Wednesday passed over Japan's southern island chain of Okinawa.

"It is extremely regrettable that North Korea went through with the launch despite our calls to exercise restraint," said chief government spokesperson Osamu Fujimura said. "Our country cannot tolerate this. We strongly protest to North Korea."

Japan's envoy to the United Nations asked for the Security Council to meet in response to the launch.


Moscow, like Beijing, said it regretted the launch, warning the move would do nothing to help regional stability.

"Russia deeply regrets the new rocket launch undertaken by North Korea in defiance of international opinion, including calls by Moscow," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The launch would "not help the strengthening of stability and would have a negative effect" on the situation in the region, it added.


Britain said it "deplored" the launch and vowed to summon the Asian country's UK ambassador to the Foreign Office.

"I strongly condemn the DPRK's satellite launch today," Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.

"I deplore the fact that the DPRK has chosen to prioritise this launch over improving the livelihood of its people. We will be summoning the DPRK Ambassador to the UK to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office," he added.

United Nations:

UN leader Ban Ki-moon condemned North Korea's missile launch as a "provocative act" in clear breach of UN Security Council resolutions.

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said the launch was "all the more regrettable because it defies the unified and strong call from the international community", said UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky.

"The secretary-general is concerned about the negative consequences that this provocative act may have on peace and stability in the region," he added.

Diplomats said the UN Security Council was to meet to discuss North Korea later on Wednesday.