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North Korean Missile Launch Requires 'Strong' U.N. Response, Official Says

Gerry J. Gilmore - American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2009 - The United States and its allies want the U.N. to issue a robust response to North Korea's April 4 missile launch, a U.S. State Department official told reporters here today.

"We're going to continue to go forward in discussions with our partners in the council to see and to seek a strong, coordinated and effective response to the North Korean missile launch," spokesman Robert Wood said at a State Department news conference.

Despite international diplomatic urging not to do so, the North Koreans launched a three-stage missile on April 4. The missile, which the North Koreans say carried a communications satellite as its payload, failed to achieve orbit and fell back into the Pacific Ocean without incident, according to the U.S. military.

Senior world leaders including President Barack Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have denounced the missile launch, citing it as a violation of Security Resolution 1718, which prohibits North Korea from making such missile launches or conducting nuclear-weapons research.

Some observers believe that North Korea tested a nuclear-type device in 2006. Also that year, the North Koreans test-fired another missile that also flew over Japan.

The U.N. Security Council met in New York yesterday to discuss the North Korean missile launch, but it didn't issue a statement.

Yesterday's U.N. Security Council session "was trying to deal with the aftermath of this launch," Wood said, noting it is early in the process and the issue is "very complicated."

Consultations at the U.N. over the North Korean missile launch continue, Wood said.

The bottom line, Wood said, is that any missile launch by North Korea is "provocative" and "not in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718."

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on ABC-TV's "This Week" with host George Stephanopoulos yesterday that the United States is "in close consultation with our allies in Asia, in particular, Japan and South Korea about the appropriate response" to the North Korean missile launch.

Rice also told Stephanopoulos that the U.S. has discussed the North Korean missile launch issue "with the Russians and the Chinese" as well.

"We're working very closely with China," Rice said. "China shares the same goal that we do, which is a denuclearized Korean peninsula."

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