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North Korea violated international law by missile launch: US

The US has accused North Korea of "violating" international law by its "provocative" act to launch a long-range rocket – even though it was a failed attempt -- hours after the top eight powerful countries asked it not to do so.

world Updated: Apr 13, 2012 09:49 IST

The US has accused North Korea of "violating" international law by its "provocative" act to launch a long-range rocket – even though it was a failed attempt -- hours after the top eight powerful countries asked it not to do so.

"Despite the failure of its attempted missile launch, North Korea's provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

"While this action is not surprising given North Korea's pattern of aggressive behaviour, any missile activity by North Korea is of concern to the international community. The US remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations, and is fully committed to the security our allies in the region," Carney said in a statement.

President Barack Obama was clear that he was prepared to engage constructively with North Korea.

However, he has also insisted that North Korea live up to its own commitments, adhere to its international obligations and deal peacefully with its neighbors, he noted.

By such an act, North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts, and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry, Carney said.

"North Korea's long-standing development of missiles and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not brought it security – and never will. North Korea will only show strength and find security by abiding by international law, living up to its obligations, and by working to feed its citizens, to educate its children, and to win the trust of its neighbours,"he said.

US defense officials, who were monitoring the missile launch, said that it was a complete failure.

"The missile was tracked on a southerly launch over the Yellow Sea," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The US systems detected and tracked a launch of the North Korean Taepo Dong-2 missile at 6.39pm New York time.

"Initial indications are that the first stage of missile fell into the sea 165 km west of Seoul, South Korea.The remaining stages were assessed to have failed and no debris fell on land. At no time were the missile or the resultant debris a threat," the statement said.

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said it was an international spectacle that violated UN Security Council resolutions, violated recent bilateral understandings, posed a threat to regional stability and sends, at best, a mixed message about North Korea's desire to change its relationship with the international community.

"Never before has so much been put in jeopardy for so little. This failure to launch should be a moment of reconsideration and introspection for the North Koreans.

"No one in the world, including North Korea's allies, believed this was just an attempt to launch a satellite and no one will accept their pledges to cooperate on denuclearization and lasting peace while they're conducting rocket launches," Kerry said.

Congressman, Howard P "Buck" McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, condemned North Korea's violation of UN Resolutions, and its agreement with the US, banning launches of this kind.

"When an isolated regime with nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities flaunts agreements so cavalierly, America and its allies must have no doubts about our own defenses," he said.

Earlier in the day, foreign ministers of G-8 countries voiced renewed concern about the behaviour of the North Korea on a wide range of issues and expressed regret about its plan to launch a missile and demanded Pyongyang not to do that.

"They urged the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) to abandon all of its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner," the statement said.

Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, slammed Obama Administration alleging that its policies have emboldened the Korean regime.

"Although the missile test failed, Pyongyang's action is another blatant violation of unanimous UN Security Council resolutions and demonstrates once again that Pyongyang is committed to developing long-range missiles with the potential of carrying nuclear weapons," Romney said in a statement.

"Its weapons program poses a clear and growing threat to the US, one for which President Obama has no effective response," he said.

"Instead of approaching Pyongyang from a position of strength, President Obama sought to appease the regime with a food-aid deal that proved to be as naive as it was short-lived. At the same time, he has cut critical U S missile defense programmes and continues to underfund them," Romney alleged.

"This incompetence from Obama Administration has emboldened the North Korean regime and undermined the security of the US and our allies," Romney said.

First Published: Apr 13, 2012 09:47 IST