N Korea warns of retaliation after launch condemnation | News | DW | 17.04.2012
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N Korea warns of retaliation after launch condemnation

Dismissing condemnation by the UN Security Council, North Korea has said it is no longer bound to a moratorium on missile and nuclear weapons tests or arms inspection. It said it could take retaliatory measures.

North Korea rejected condemnation by the United Nations Security Council for a failed missile test it carried out last week in a statement carried by state media on Tuesday.

"We resolutely and totally reject the unreasonable behavior of the UN Security Council to violate the DPRK's [North Korea's] legitimate right to launch satellites," the North's foreign ministry said in the statement.

It went on to say that it was no longer bound to hold up its side of a deal with the United States, in which the North agreed to a moratorium on missile and nuclear tests in exchange for food aid, because of Washington's "undisguised hostile acts."

"We have thus become able to take necessary retaliatory measures, free from the agreement," the statement said, without specifying what action North Korea would take.

"Peace is very dear for us but the dignity of the nation and the sovereignty of the country are dearer for us," the ministry said, adding that the country would continue to pursue its space program.

The US had already said it would call off the food aid deal - which was agreed in late February - if the launch went forward.

Attempted launch

The North's announcement came a day after the UN Security Council's condemnation, when it also decided that sanctions against the regime would be tightened.

On Friday, North Korea attempted to launch the missile, which it said was meant to send a weather observation satellite into orbit. The rocket flew only 120 kilometers (75 miles) and then crashed into the Yellow Sea.

Members of the international community, including the US and South Korea, said the rocket was similar to a type capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and that the launch was a disguised test.

They fear that Pyongyang will retaliate by testing further missiles, a pattern North Korea appear to have established in the past.

ncy/sej (Reuters, AFP, dpa)