NATO calls North Korea rocket launch "provocative"

BRUSSELS Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:34pm IST

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO strongly condemned North Korea's rocket launch on Wednesday, saying it went against U.N. Security Council resolutions and could destabilise the region surrounding Korea.

"This provocative act exacerbates tensions in the region and risks further destabilising the Korean peninsula," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.

"NATO continues to call on the North Korean authorities to fulfil their obligations under international law."

The rocket easily surpassed a failed April launch that flew for less than two minutes.

North Korea says the rocket will put a weather satellite into orbit. But the United States, South Korea and Japan have labelled it a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States.

NATO called last week for North Korea to cancel its planned launch of a rocket using ballistic missile technology.

Rasmussen said in his statement on Wednesday that North Korea should "comply fully with the will of the international community as expressed by the United Nations Security Council and the moratorium on missile launches".

(Reporting By Sebastian Moffett; editing by Rex Merrifield)

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