China regrets North Korea’s satellite launch

Beijing, Feb 7 (IANS) China has expressed regrets on the launch by North Korea of an earth observation satellite on Sunday morning, calling for calm on the Korean Peninsula.

China regretted that North Korea insisted on the launch using the ballistic missile technology despite universal opposition of the international community, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

“The DPRK (North Korea) should be entitled to peaceful use of outer space, but this right is currently restricted by United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Xinhua quoted the spokesperson as saying.

“Scientists and technicians of the DPRK National Aerospace Development Administration succeeded in putting the newly developed earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-4 into its orbit according to the 2016 plan of the five-year programme for national aerospace development,” North Korean state media KCNA reported.

Seoul has denounced the launch, calling for stronger sanctions against Pyongyang, and the US also condemned the launch, saying it represents “another destabilising and provocative action” and is “a flagrant violation” of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

The UN Security Council is to convene a closed-door emergency session to discuss the launch.

The launch, the first since December 2012, came one month after North Korea tested what it claimed to be its first hydrogen bomb. Countries including the US and South Korea have sought fresh sanctions since the nuclear test on January 6.

Hua called all sides concerned to “remain calm, act cautiously, take no moves that could escalate tension on the peninsula, and make joint efforts to safeguard regional peace and stability.”

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