Russia criticizes North Korea over launch plans

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 10, 2012 4:13 AM
Russia criticizes North Korea over launch plans

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia criticized North Korea on Tuesday over its plans to launch a rocket, saying the decision showed disregard for U.N. Security Council resolutions restricting such actions and calling for a diplomatic solution.

"We consider Pyongyang's decision to conduct a launch of a satellite an example of disregard for U.N. Security Council decisions," state-run news agency RIA quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich as saying.

"It is necessary to seek a way out of the situation on the political-diplomatic track," he said.

Russia has balanced previous criticism over North Korea's launch plans with calls on other major powers to refrain from belligerent actions against Pyongyang.

Regional powers have said that what North Korea has described as the launch of a weather satellite, months after Kim Jong-un succeeded his father as the leader of the reclusive state, is a disguised test of a long-range ballistic missile.

The launch would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions and a February 29 denuclearization agreement, likely damaging prospects for new six-party talks on ending the impoverished country's nuclear program in exchange for food aid.

North Korea, which three years ago pulled out of six-party disarmament talks, agreed in February to stop nuclear tests, uranium enrichment and long-range missile launches in return for aid, opening the way to a possible resumption in negotiations.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Thomas Grove and Mark Heinrich)