select languages
latestnewslatestnews RSS
Home > National > Politics/Diplomacy
China repeats opposition to provocations ahead of N. Korea's rocket launch
SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- China recently reiterated its opposition to any provocations undermining peace and security in the Korean Peninsula as its communist ally North Korea prepares for a rocket launch banned by U.N. resolutions.

   "Peace and security must be maintained on the Korean Peninsula," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a group of South Korean reporters early last week when they called on him. "We are pleased to support anything leading to improvement in inter-Korean relations. In this context, we are concerned about any provocations hurting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula."

   Hong's remarks were made just days before North Korea announced Saturday it would launch a rocket in mid-December to put a satellite into orbit.

   North Korea is banned by U.N. resolutions, adopted after Pyongyang's launch of rockets in 2006, 2009 and in April of this year, from launching rockets or conducting nuclear tests. North Korea tested nuclear devices in early 2006 and 2009 just after its rocket launches.

   The U.S. and its allies see the North's rocket launch as a pretext to developing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to the U.S.
Pyongyang insists it has the sovereign right to launch a rocket to place a scientific satellite into orbit.

   China, North Korea's staunchest communist ally, has frequently blocked or watered down U.N. resolutions condemning North Korea for its nuclear tests and rocket launches.

   Another senior Chinese official, asking anonymity, told South Korean reporters recently that North Korea has the right to develop technology for the peaceful use of space, but added that right should be used in accordance with international regulations.

   Hong, however, fell short of categorizing the possibility of a North Korean rocket launch as a breach of U.N. resolutions, saying, "I do not want to respond to hypothetical questions."

   Regarding six-party talks on ending the North's nuclear ambitions, the spokesman said, "We are trying to foster an atmosphere for the resumption of the six-party talks by contacting relevant countries."

   The talks have been stalled since 2008.

   Critics say North Korea has used the multilateral denuclearization talks as a means of developing a nuclear arsenal and ballistic missiles.

   Hong, however, defended the nuclear disarmament goal agreed upon among the six-party countries as a "goal worth pursuing."

   "The six-party regime has played a role in stabilizing regional political situation and denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, which is not replaceable, although it has had ups and downs," he said.