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China Daily Website

Launch of rocket is regretful, Beijing says

Updated: 2012-12-13 00:58
By Li Xiaokun in Beijing and Cai Hong in Tokyo ( China Daily)

Beijing expressed regret over Pyongyang's launch of a long-range rocket on Wednesday amid deep concern among its neighbors.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea said it had successfully placed a satellite in orbit.

Launch of rocket is regretful, Beijing says

TV screens in Seoul show a DPRK anchorwoman announcing the success of the rocket launch on Wednesday. [Photo/Agencies]

The launch, just before 10 am, sparked criticism from some countries and triggered plans for an emergency session of the UN Security Council.

Beijing said any response by the United Nations should be "prudent and moderate" to avoid escalating tension.

The successful launch served two purposes, experts said.

It was a welcome present to DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, days before the first anniversary of taking power, and also served as a warning to countries that have pressured or neglected Pyongyang during the past months.

The DPRK, whose previous launch attempt in April ended in failure, has stated that the satellite will be used for peaceful and scientific purposes only, adding that it will abide by international regulations.

But the United States and its allies ― the Republic of Korea and Japan ― view it as a disguised ballistic missile test banned under UN resolutions triggered by its nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

"We express regret at the DPRK's launch in spite of the extensive concerns of the international community," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular briefing on Wednesday afternoon.

Hong said Pyongyang has the right to make peaceful use of outer space but as a UN member "this right is also subject to the restrictions of UN Security Council resolutions".

Hong said China "believes UN Security Council reaction should be prudent and moderate and conducive to maintaining stability and avoiding escalation of the situation".

"China always maintains that the fundamental approach to the realization of ensuring peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula should be through dialogue," Hong said, adding China hopes countries will remain calm and maintain peace on the peninsula.

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