Russia urges N Korea to scrap rocket launch

Russia urges N Korea to scrap rocket launch

Russia urges N Korea to scrap rocket launch

Updated 3 December 2012, 19:37 AEST

Russia has urged North Korea not to go ahead with a plan for its second rocket launch of the year, saying it would violate restrictions imposed by the UN Security Council.

Russia has urged North Korea not to go ahead with a plan for its second rocket launch of the year, saying it would violate restrictions imposed by the UN Security Council.

"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.

North Korea's state news agency announced on Saturday the decision to launch another space satellite.

The first stage of the rocket has been installed at the North's Sohae satellite launch station, and it was expected to take three or four days to erect all three stages.

The report indicated the country had told its neighbours it would take a similar path to a failed rocket launch in April.

Japan has threatened to shoot down the rocket, which Pyongyang said could be launched next week.

Echoing its criticism of the April launch, Russia said Pyongyang had been warned not to ignore a Security Council resolution which "unambiguously prohibits [North Korea] from launching rockets using ballistic technology".

China, meanwhile, was not so direct in its criticism of North Korea, but urged "all sides" not to take any action that "worsens the problem".

Kim Jong-un's regime insists the rocket, which it says will fly south over the Philippines and Australia and into orbit, is carrying a communications satellite.

But the US, South Korea and Japan all say the launch is really a ballistic missile test, with North Korea trying to master the technology to fire long-range missiles capable of one day carrying a nuclear warhead.

The Russian statement said North Korea would be allowed only to exercise its right to peaceful activity in space if the UN-imposed restrictions were lifted.

Russia has often balanced criticism of Soviet-era client state North Korea's nuclear activities and missile launches with calls on other powers to refrain from belligerent actions against Pyongyang, which it says can be counterproductive.

Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and is upset by any defiance of council resolutions.

Past launches by Pyongyang have caused concern among Russians living near the country's border with North Korea.

Reuters/ABC