Concern over North Korea missile launch plan

Tuesday 04 December 2012 11.41
Kim Jong Un's North Korea plans the rocket launch later this month
Kim Jong Un's North Korea plans the rocket launch later this month

Foreign envoys have met in Seoul to discuss North Korea's recently announced plan to fire a long-range rocket later this month.

Ambassadors from China, the US, Russia and Japan, met South Korea's Foreign Ministry officials to discuss the possibilities of resuming the six-party negotiations.

Six-nation negotiations, which include the US, South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and North Korea, on dismantling North Korea's nuclear programme in exchange for aid fell apart in early 2009.

North Korea announced on Saturday that it would launch the rocket between 10-22 December.

It would be North Korea's second launch attempt under leader Kim Jong Un, who took power following his father Kim Jong Il's death nearly a year ago.

China, the North's main ally and aid provider, has also expressed concern about the launch.

Chinese ambassador to South Korea Zhang Xinsen said: "Both nations (China and South Korea) had an in-depth exchange (of opinions) on the mutually interested agenda. And issues about the Korean peninsula were also included in the exchange."

China's Foreign Ministry has acknowledged North Korea's right to the peaceful use of space, but said that had to be harmonised with restrictions, including those set by the UN Security Council.

North Korea has capable short and medium-range missiles, but long-range launches in 1998, 2006, 2009 and in April of this year ended in failure.

North Korea is not known to have succeeded in mounting an atomic bomb on a missile, but US experts believe that the North has enough weaponised plutonium for at least half a dozen bombs.

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