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(LEAD) White House warns N. Korea of 'consequences'
By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) -- The White House called North Korea's rocket launch a "highly provocative act" and warned that it will have to face "consequences" for its violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

   A statement by the White House National Security Council (NSC), however, did not mention whether the launch was successful or not.

   "North Korea's launch today - using ballistic missile technology despite express prohibitions by United Nations Security Council resolutions - is a highly provocative act that threatens regional security," NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

   The act directly violates United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874, contravenes North Korea's international obligations, and undermines the global non-proliferation regime, he added.

   "This action is yet another example of North Korea's pattern of irresponsible behavior," Vietor said. "The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and fully committed to the security of our allies in the region."

   He called for the international community to "work in a concerted fashion to send North Korea a clear message that its violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions have consequences."

   The U.N. council is scheduled to convene an emergency session on Wednesday morning.

   "Given this current threat to regional security, the United States will strengthen and increase our close coordination with allies and partners," Vietor said.

   The White House's first formal response to the launch came about three hours after it, marking a contrast to its relatively swift reply to the North's launch in April, which was unsuccessful.

   North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) earlier said North Korea seems to have succeeded in putting an object into orbit.

   "Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit," it said in a statement.

   The command said the multi-stage rocket was fired at 7:49 p.m. (Washington time).

   Meanwhile, the State Department forwarded the White House's statement to reporters, indicating it won't issue a separate one.