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NZ condemns North Korea missile launch

Published: 5:59AM Monday April 06, 2009 Source: NZPA

The New Zealand government has spoken out in condemnation of North Korea's rocket launch.

North Korea on Sunday launched a long-range rocket over Japan, drawing swift international condemnation and triggering an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

Washington said it would take steps to let the reclusive North Korea know it could not threaten regional security, and South Korea called the launch of the rocket a "reckless" act.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said North Korea's actions were provocative, despite their claim that the satellite launch was for peaceful, scientific purposes.

He said the events have not helped efforts to build peace and stability in the region.

The launch was contrary to clear messages given by UN Security Council resolutions, which required North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile programme, and to restrain from actions that might aggravate tensions, he said.

"It is clearly a backwards step after promising signs last year that North Korea was moving towards denuclearisation under the Six Party Talks framework," McCully said.

"The New Zealand government believes it is in the best interests of all parties for Pyongyang to focus on meeting the commitments it has already agreed to during the Six Party Talks process, and to refrain from further actions that only create greater unease and suspicion."

The UN Security Council resolutions were passed in 2006 after Pyongyang carried out the nuclear test and other missile tests.