18 Mar 2012

North Korea missile plan condemned

12:15 pm on 18 March 2012

North Korea's neighbours and the United States have condemned Pyongyang's plans to launch a rocket-mounted satellite.

North Korea's state media has reported the country will launch the rocket to mark the 100th birthday of its late leader, Kim Il-sung, in April.

The move is seen as violating United Nations Security Council resolutions, the BBC reports.

The US said the launch would threaten regional security and Russia described the plan as a "serious concern".

Japan is particularly concerned as North Korea's April 2009 rocket was launched over the country.

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said going ahead with another missile launch would harm peace and stability in the region.

"We're also concerned that a launch would interfere with our effort to resolve various problems through dialogue. We strongly urge North Korea to use self-restraint and suspend the launch."

A US state department spokesperson said it would be "hard to imagine" giving food aid to North Korea, as previously agreed, if Pyongyang went ahead with the rocket launch.

South Korea said such a move would be a "clear violation" of Security Council resolutions passed after a similar launch in 2009.