N. Korea Rejects UN Condemnation of Rocket Launch

Posted April 17th, 2012 at 12:35 pm (UTC-5)
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North Korea on Tuesday rejected the United Nations' condemnation of Pyongyang's failed rocket launch, and is vowing to continue trying to fire a long-range rocket into space to place a satellite in orbit.

The North Korean foreign ministry insisted that Pyongyang was within its legal rights when it launched a rocket last week that it says was carrying a weather satellite into orbit. The rocket broke apart and fell into the Yellow Sea — prompting criticism from the United Nations, long-time North Korean ally China, the United States, Japan and the European Union. Critics accused the North of using the satellite scenario as a cover for testing ballistic missile technology banned under U.N. resolutions.

Monday's unanimous U.N. Security Council condemnation included orders for its sanctions committee to tighten measures aimed at preventing North Korea from developing and exporting nuclear and missile technology. The statement said the council will respond accordingly to any further provocations by Pyongyang.

The North Korean rejection statement also accused the United States of breaking a deal reached earlier this year under which Washington agreed to supply massive shipments of emergency food aid to the impoverished North. In exchange, Pyongyang agreed to suspend its nuclear activities and to allow international inspectors to re-enter the country to verify the suspension.

U.S. President Barack Obama says North Korea breached the agreement with the launch and said Washington would not supply food shipments at this time.

Japanese media reported Tuesday that Pyongyang has withdrawn its invitation to the inspectors in retaliation.

China has sought to restart multi-national negotiations with the North aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear activities. China's Communist Party-controlled Global Times newspaper said Tuesday that Pyongyang should not be misled into thinking it can ignore Beijing's wishes with impunity. The paper said North Korea will “pay the price if it tries to abduct China's North Korea policy.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said late Monday (in Brasilia) that the U.N. Security Council members, including China, are agreed there will be “further consequences” in the event of further North Korean provocations. Recent satellite photographs show Pyongyang may be preparing for an underground nuclear test.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who heads the Security Council this month, said in New York Monday that the failed space shot had caused “grave security concerns” across much of East Asia.