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Russia warns North Korea against rocket launch

Posted on Dec 03, 07:31PM | IANS

Russia called on North Korea Monday to abandon plans to launch a space rocket later this month, which Pyongyang announced on the weekend.

"We strongly appeal to the North Korean government to reconsider the decision to launch the rocket," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The launch would contradict resolutions imposed by the UN Security Council, the ministry said.

Russia said it regretted the North Korean Space Technology Committee's announcement that a rocket carrying a satellite would be launched between Dec 10 and 22.

The first stage of the three-stage long-range rocket has been already installed on the launch pad, a Seoul government source told Yonhap news agency Monday. It will take up to four days to set up the remaining two, the anonymous source was quoted as saying.

The launch will be North Korea's second attempt this year. A previous launch in April failed when the rocket crashed into the Yellow Sea minutes after lift-off.

North Korea maintains it wants to put satellites into orbit for peaceful purposes, while the international community suspects the launches could be a cover for development of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea has previously tested nuclear weapons underground.