China urges 'restraint' after N Korea rocket launch
North Korea's sole major ally, China, today urged "calm" and "restraint" from all sides after Pyongyang's failed rocket launch drew strong condemnation from the United States and its allies.world Updated: Apr 13, 2012 11:54 IST
North Korea's sole major ally, China, on Friday urged "calm" and "restraint" from all sides after Pyongyang's failed rocket launch drew strong condemnation from the United States and its allies.
"We hope all relevant parties can maintain calm and restraint, and refrain from acts that would harm peace and stability on the peninsula and in the region," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a statement.
He also called on all sides to maintain "contact and dialogue" in the brief statement, which gave no other details.
North Korea on Friday went ahead with what it termed a launch to put a satellite into orbit, but the long-range rocket disintegrated mid-air and plunged into the sea soon after takeoff.
Pyongyang insisted the launch -- planned to mark the centenary of the birth of late founding president Kim Il-Sung -- was a peaceful space project, but Washington and Seoul viewed it as a disguised missile test in breach of UN resolutions.
The United States, Japan and South Korea on Friday rushed to condemn the launch as a "provocative act" that threatened regional security, despite its failure.
But China, which as North Korea's only main ally is considered to have the most influence on Pyongyang, waited more than six hours before reacting.