Seoul Slams North Korean Rocket Plan as Nuclear Test

Posted March 18th, 2012 at 10:40 pm (UTC-5)
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South Korea accused North Korea on Monday of using a planned satellite launch to further development of a long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

The North announced Friday that it would launch a rocket in mid-April to put a satellite into orbit for peaceful purposes.

After a meeting Monday morning of foreign and security ministers, presided over by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, the presidential Blue House issued a statement calling the planned launch a “grave provocation.”

The statement said South Korea would work with the international community and discuss the matter with the leaders of related countries, including the United States, Japan, China, Russia and the European Union during next week's Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul.

The U.S., Russia, South Korea and Japan have all condemned the planned launch, saying it violates a U.N. ban on all North Korean launches using ballistic missile technology.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday that such a launch could affect plans to deliver food aid to the impoverished North.