China, Japan, S. Korea Meet On N. Korean Launch

Posted April 7th, 2012 at 3:00 pm (UTC-5)
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China, Japan and South Korea continue to urge North Korea to cancel its plan to launch a rocket possibly as early as next week.

Foreign ministers of the three Asian countries met Saturday in China's port city of Ningbo in the eastern Zheijang province to discuss North Korea's plan and other regional issues. Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba and his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung Hwan agreed that the North Korean launch planned for mid-April would be a clear violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution.

A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Qin Gang, told reporters after the meeting that China is calling for calm regarding the launch.

“We hope that all the relevant parties should act on the view of the bigger picture to deal appropriately with the problem. Any actions that are carried out should be done so in consideration of ensuring the peace and long-term stability of the Northeast Asia region.''

Japan and South Korea as well as the United States believe that the planned launch is a covert test of ballistic missile capabilities, which represents a violation of United Nations resolutions. Foreign ministry spokesman Yutaka Yokoi said Japan is preparing for the possibility of debris from the launch falling on its territory.

“Just in case, if this flying thing just falls onto our territory, it is for this situation that we are doing some preparation. That's all that we do. We are not going to intercept that missile.''

North Korea's state-run media reported Saturday that foreign journalists have been arriving in Pyongyang to watch and cover the launch.

Pyongyang has not announced the exact time of the launch, but said it will take place between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th birthday of North Korea's founder and late leader Kim Il Sung.