Philippines protests North Korea’s rocket launch


01:36 PM March 21st, 2012

By: Jerry E. Esplanada, March 21st, 2012 01:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has expressed grave concern over North Korea’s plan to launch an observation satellite into space next month, which the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said was “unacceptable.”

In a statement, the foreign office strongly urged Pyongyang “not to proceed with its planned rocket launch” between April 12 and 16.

The first stage of North Korea’s long-range rocket that supposedly would put a satellite into orbit is projected to fall about 140 kilometers off the South Korean coast while the second stage is tipped to splash down 190 km east of the Philippines, said a wire service report.

The DFA also appealed to North Korea to abide by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874 and 1718, which call for the “abandonment of its ballistic missile program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.”

“We join other governments in urging the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to adhere to its recent pledge for a moratorium on long-range missile launches, together with nuclear tests and uranium enrichment activity,” it said.

According to the DFA, “the DPRK’s return to confidence-building and engagement with the international community is key to the continued stability and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and the entire Asia-Pacific region.”

The United States, Japan and South Korea see North Korea’s plan as a thinly veiled long-range missile test, which would breach a UN ban and violate last month’s denuclearization deal with Washington.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said such criticism was a “sinister provocation by hostile forces.”

It said the north Asian country has a right to peaceful development in space, adding the North Korean government had notified international aviation and maritime bodies of the rocket’s flight path.

Next month’s rocket launch is timed to coincide with mass celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the nation’s founding president, Kim Il-sung.

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