December 04, 2012 07:56
Russia is urging North Korea not to go ahead with a planned rocket launch later this month. The statement was issued Monday by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Russia joins an international chorus expressing concern about the North's intentions. Pyongyang says the rocket will carry an earth observation satellite into orbit, but the effort is widely suspected to be a cover for testing North Korea's ballistic missile technology.
China, the North's main ally and key benefactor also said Sunday it was concerned at the launch plans.
Japan has announced the postponement of two days of talks with North Korea that had been scheduled to begin in Beijing Wednesday because of the impending launch.
Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto on Saturday ordered the military to make the necessary defensive preparations for a North Korean missile should it go off course and threaten Japanese territory. North Korea made a similar launch attempt in April that failed.
North Korea said Saturday it plans to launch the rocket some time between Dec. 10 and 22.
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