North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket has provoked an international outrage, triggering plans for an emergency session of the UN Security Council over the move.
The United Nations, the United States and its regional allies all condemned Wednesday’s successful launch.
Even China, North Korea’s sole major ally and its biggest trade partner and aid provider, responded relatively quickly with a statement that pressed the country to abide by UN Security Council resolutions.
Russia said it deeply regretted the behaviour, and warned it 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. The launch would “not help the strengthening of stability and would have a negative effect” on the situation in the region, it added.
Calling the launch a “highly provocative act,” White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said it marks “yet another example of North Korea’s pattern of irresponsible behavior”.
Both China and Russia urged “other sides” not to take actions that could further raise tensions.
Vietor said the US would work with other nations and the UN Security Council “to pursue appropriate action” against North Korea.
Japan said it “cannot tolerate” the launch of a rocket that Tokyo believes was a disguised ballistic missile test.
“It is extremely regrettable that North Korea went through with the launch despite our calls to exercise restraint,” chief government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said. “Our country cannot tolerate this. We strongly protest to North Korea.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also strongly condemned the launch and expressed concern that it could negatively impact prospects for peace and security in the region.
“The Secretary-General deplores the rocket launch announced by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea),” Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
“It is a clear violation of Security Council resolution 1874, in which the Council demanded that the DPRK not conduct any launch using ballistic missile technology,” the statement said.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry said Tokyo immediately requested consultations on the launch within the UN Security Council.
The council will hold closed-door consultations on the launch on Wednesday at the request of one council member and two other countries, according to the UN Mission for Morocco, which holds the rotating council presidency.
North Korea launched a long-range rocket for the second time this year on Wednesday local time, and may have succeeded in putting a satellite into space, the stated aim of what critics say is a disguised ballistic missile test.
North Korea insisted the latest mission was not a banned intercontinental missile test but was designed to place a scientific satellite in orbit, and said it had achieved all its objectives.