DOD: North Korea Rocket Launch Would Destabilize Region

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2012 — The April launch of a long-range rock­et announced by North Korea today would vio­late U.N. res­o­lu­tions and rep­re­sent a desta­bi­liz­ing influ­ence in the region, Pen­ta­gon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kir­by said here today.

The rock­et would car­ry a North Kore­an-made Kwangmy­ong­song-3 polar-orbit­ing earth obser­va­tion satel­lite to mark the 100th birth­day of late-Pres­i­dent Kim Il Sung, a spokesman for the Kore­an Com­mit­tee for Space Tech­nol­o­gy said in a state­ment.

The late president’s birth­day is April 15.

“If, in fact, they do what they are claim­ing they will do, it is a very clear vio­la­tion of two Unit­ed Nations Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions and is in vio­la­tion of their oblig­a­tions to the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty,” Kir­by said.

“We would con­sid­er it desta­bi­liz­ing behav­ior,” he added, “and we urge the [North] Kore­an lead­er­ship to recon­sid­er this deci­sion and to con­form to their oblig­a­tions under those sanc­tions.”

At the State Depart­ment today, spokes­woman Vic­to­ria Nuland said U.N. Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tions Nos. 1718 and 1874 “clear­ly and unequiv­o­cal­ly pro­hib­it North Korea from con­duct­ing launch­es that use bal­lis­tic-mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy.”

She added, “Such a mis­sile launch would pose a threat to region­al secu­ri­ty and would also be incon­sis­tent with North Korea’s recent under­tak­ing to refrain from long-range mis­sile launch­es.”

State Depart­ment offi­cials are con­sult­ing close­ly with inter­na­tion­al part­ners on next steps, Nuland said.

The satel­lite will be launched south­ward from the Sohae satel­lite launch sta­tion in Chol­san Coun­ty, North Phy­on­gan Province, between April 12 and 16 on a long-range Unha-3 rock­et, North Kore­an offi­cials said in the state­ment.

“A safe flight orbit has been cho­sen so that car­ri­er rock­et debris to be gen­er­at­ed dur­ing the flight would not have any impact on neigh­bor­ing coun­tries,” they said.

North Kore­an offi­cials said they will “strict­ly abide by rel­e­vant inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­tions and usage con­cern­ing the launch of sci­en­tif­ic and tech­no­log­i­cal satel­lites for peace­ful pur­pos­es.”

At the Pen­ta­gon, Kir­by said, “We con­tin­ue to oper­ate every day with our South Kore­an coun­ter­parts and we hold firm­ly to our alliance oblig­a­tions and to secu­ri­ty on the Kore­an penin­su­la. That’s not going to change.”

The Defense Depart­ment, he added, is “very com­fort­able with the full range of mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties we have at our dis­pos­al in the Asia Pacif­ic region and in and around the Kore­an penin­su­la.

“We’re very com­fort­able with the alliance and the capa­bil­i­ties of our Kore­an coun­ter­parts in that alliance,” he added, “as well as our oth­er allies and part­ners in the area.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)