Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Hague attacks N-Korea rocket launch

South Korean howitzers are deployed during a military exercise near the border village of Panmunjom (AP)

Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was "deeply concerned" about North Korea firing a long-range rocket in defiance of international warnings.

Mr Hague said the country's ambassador would be summoned to the Foreign Office later to discuss concern over the actions in the face of international condemnation.

Mr Hague said: "I am deeply concerned about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) satellite launch."

He continued: "Such a launch uses ballistic missile technology and, as such, is a clear violation of UNSCR 1874. I strongly urge the DPRK to suspend all missile and nuclear-related activity and to commit to re-engaging with the international community."

The rocket was fired at 11.39pm on Thursday (7.39am local time) from the west coast launch pad in the hamlet of Tongchang-ri, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said.

The launch appeared to fail when the rocket splintered into pieces moments after lift-off, South Korea's Defence Ministry said. An American official also said the launch appeared to have failed.

Tokyo, which was prepared to shoot down any rocket flying over its territory, also confirmed a launch from North Korea. Japan's defence minister Naoki Tanaka said: "We have confirmed that a certain flying object has been launched and fell after flying for just over a minute."

He said there was no impact on Japanese territory.

At the time of the launch in Pyongyang state television was broadcasting video of popular folk tunes. North Korean officials said they would make an announcement about the launch soon.

South Korean president Lee Myung-bak will hold an emergency security meeting, officials said.

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