A North Korean soldier salutes in front of the country’s Unha-3 rocket before it failed in a launch in April 2012. (File photo)
The United States says it will “take appropriate action” if North Korea does not drop the plan for its second rocket launch this year.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Friday that Washington takes “very seriously” Pyongyang’s claim that its missile can strike the US mainland.
“We condemn, you know, North Korea’s decision to move forward with the launch,” Toner said at a regular news briefing.
“We urge North Korea to reconsider, and we’re working with our partners and allies in the region to address our concerns, and in the event of a launch we’ll take appropriate action.”
On December 3, Russia and China urged North Korea not to go ahead with its rocket launch.
Russia said North Korea had been warned not to ignore a UN Security Council resolution which “unambiguously prohibits (it) from launching rockets using ballistic technology.”
China also urged “all sides” not to take any action that “worsens the problem.”
“China believes that maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia accords with the interests of all sides and is the joint responsibility of all sides,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
“In the present circumstances, we hope all sides can be calm and restrained and not take any moves to worsen the problem. China will remain in touch and coordinate with all sides.”
North Korea’s state news agency announced on December 1 the decision to launch another space satellite. The rocket would reportedly take a path similar to the one that failed in April.
Washington and its allies insist that the North Korean plan is a cover for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.