World reacts to North Korea's satellite launch

A North Korean newscaster making an announcement about North Korea's satellite launch Image copyright North Korea TV
Image caption State TV said North Korea would launch more satellites

The world was swift to criticise North Korea's launch of what it said was an earth observation satellite.

The North, officially called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), insists its space programme is purely scientific in nature. But some suspect such rocket launches are aimed at developing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the US.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

"It is deeply deplorable that North Korea has conducted a launch using ballistic missile technology in violation of relevant Security Council resolutions on 6 February 2016 despite the united plea of the international community against such an act."

US Secretary of State John Kerry

"The United States strongly condemns today's missile launch by the DPRK - a flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions. DPRK's provocations threaten not only the region, but the US as well. We reaffirm our ironclad commitment to the defence of South Korea and Japan. We will continue to work with our partners & members of the UN Security Council on significant measures to hold the DPRK to account."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

"Despite our repeated pleas to refrain, we find it absolutely unacceptable that they have launched this missile. To launch a missile after conducting a nuclear test goes clearly against the UN resolution," said Mr Abe. "We absolutely cannot allow this. We will take action to totally protect the safety and well-being of our people."

South Korean President Park Geun-hye

"North Korea has committed an unacceptable provocation of launching a long-range missile after conducting a fourth nuclear test. The Security Council should quickly come up with strong sanctions."

Ms Park suggested that the launch was "all about maintaining the regime'' in Pyongyang and criticised the North Korean leadership for ignoring the hardships of ordinary North Koreans.

China's foreign ministry

"The Chinese side regrets that the DPRK insisted on using ballistic missile technology to carry out the launch in spite of the pervasive opposition of the international community.

"The Chinese side hopes that relevant parties could react with calm and caution, refrain from taking actions that may further escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and jointly uphold regional peace and stability.

"The Chinese side always maintains that dialogue and consultation is the only way to ensure lasting peace and stability in the region. All parties should resume contacts and talks as soon as possible and avoid further worsening the situation on the Peninsula."

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

"In conducting this provocation, North Korea has clearly demonstrated that it is intent on prioritising the development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes over improving the well-being of its own people.

"As North Korea is aware, the UN Security Council unanimously agreed to take significant measures against any further launches or nuclear tests. We will now meet with our partners in New York to agree a collective response."

Russia's foreign ministry

"It is obvious that such actions lead to a serious aggravation of the situation on the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia on the whole...(and) inflict serious damage to the security of the countries of the region, first and foremost North Korea itself.

"We urgently recommend that the North Korean leadership think whether the policy of placing yourself in opposition to the international community is in the country's interests."

French presidency

"France condemns with the utmost firmness the new flagrant violation by North Korea of the resolutions of the Security Council. The launch... is a senseless provocation. France calls for a rapid and tough response from the international community at the Security Council."

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

"This launch is in direct violation of five United Nations Security Council Resolutions, which repeatedly call for North Korea to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme, to re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launching and not to conduct any further nuclear test or any launch using ballistic missile technology.

Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop

"North Korea continues to pose a threat to the region and to the globe, they are a threat to world peace and the Australian government joins with the international community in condemning North Korea's provocative, dangerous and destabilising behaviour.

"Australia calls on the North Korean leader... to focus on the plight of the long-suffering people of North Korea and not to engage in nuclear weapons testing, ballistic missiles testing which is against all unanimous United Nations Security Council resolutions on this topic."

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