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US: DPRK launch 'clear violation of Resolution 1718'
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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Sunday that the U.S. government considered the rocket launch of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) "a clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1718," and urged "a strong collective action" from the Security Council.

Rice made the remarks before a planned emergency session of the Security Council began after 3 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Sunday.

"We have been in consultation today with our allies in the region, and other partners in the Security Council," Rice told reporters.

"The session today provides us a valuable opportunity to pursue the consultation and work toward an agreement on a strong collective action," said the ambassador.

EU, US jointly call on DPRK to abandon nuclear weapons programs

The European Union (EU) and the United States issued a joint statement on Sunday, urging the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to "abandon all nuclear weapons programs" and work to promote peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

The statement, issued during the EU-U.S. summit on Sunday, came after the DPRK announced to have successfully launched a rocket carrying a communications satellite.

"The launch of a missile by North Korea (DPRK) defies UN Security Council resolutions and harms peace and stability in northeast Asia," said the EU-U.S. statement.

"We call on North Korea (DPRK) to honor its commitment to abandon all nuclear weapons programs, to abide by recognized norms of international relations, and to work to promote peace and stability in northeast Asia," it said.

The latest DPRK launch "demands a response from the international community, including from the UN Security Council to demonstrate that its resolutions cannot be defied with impunity," said the statement.

The two transatlantic sides also warned that the DPRK can not realize either international acceptance or economic development linked to the international system until it stops "threatening behavior" and works with the other parties to implement the Sept. 19, 2005 Six-Party joint statement.

Under the 2005 statement, the DPRK agreed to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and allow international inspections in exchange for energy aid, economic cooperation and security guarantees.

Lavrov, Clinton favor continuing six-party talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on Sunday discussed over the phone the situation concerning the rocket launch by the DPRK, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The parties favored joint actions in order to prevent the destabilization of the situation in North Eastern Asia, as well as maintaining the six-party process on the Korean peninsula problem," the Interfax news agency cited the statement.

"An agreement to uphold close contacts and to continue consultations on this issue was reached," it said.

Russia has urged all the states concerned to "show restraint in judgments and actions in the current situation."

The DPRK's official media reported earlier that the country had successfully launched a rocket carrying a communications satellite, and the satellite later entered the orbit.

Following that, the UN Security Council approved an emergency session to deal with the launch at a formal request submitted by the Japanese government, which claimed the DPRK's rocket launch violated UN Security Council resolutions whether it was a satellite or a missile.

The DPRK has said its launch of the satellite was part of a peaceful space program. It has also claimed that it is entitled to develop its own space program and other countries like the United States have no right to interfere.

(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2009)

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