South Korea on Sunday denounced North Korea’s rocket launch, calling for stronger sanctions against Pyongyang.
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The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae issued a statement, saying that it strongly denounces the long-range missile launch in defiance of repeated warnings from the international community, Xinhua reported.
The statement said the long-range missile launch clearly violates UN Security Council resolutions, describing it as an extreme provocative act for the single purpose of maintaining its regime while dismissing livelihoods of North Korean people and the international community’s wish for peace.
Seoul said the rocket launch was conducted amid ongoing discussions in the UN Security Council about new sanctions against Pyongyang over its fourth nuclear test.
President Park Geun-hye presided over an emergency meeting of the national security council right after North Korea launched a rocket at 9.30 a.m. (local time) from its main Tongchang-ri launch station on the west coast.
The launch came a day after Pyongyang announced its revised plan to move up the launch window to February 7-14 from the previous February 8-25.
Pyongyang conducted what it said was its first H-bomb test on January 6. It was the fourth of nuclear detonations following tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
UN Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from testing a rocket by use of ballistic missile technology and from staging a nuclear test.
The South Korean government and the international community had encouraged North Korea to return to a dialogue table, such as six-party talks to denuclearise the Korean peninsula, but Pyongyang had made no response to such proposal, according to the statement.
The six-way nuclear disarmament talks, which involve South Korea, North Korea, China, the US, Russia and Japan, have been stalled since late 2008.
The statement said Pyongyang bought time to advance its nuclear capability while Seoul made dialogue overtures, calling for tougher new UN sanctions against North Korea.
The only way of making Pyongyang give up its nuclear ambition is to draft strong and effective sanctions against it, including UN Security Council resolutions, in cooperation with the international community, the statement noted.
South Korea said it will make all-out efforts to draw up strong UN Security Council resolutions and continue necessary pressures on North Korea to force change in the country.
The South Korean government will push ahead with effective actions with the US to strengthen its security capability, while maintaining a seamless defence readiness to respond to any North Korean nuclear and missile threats.