Russia urges North Korea to refrain from rocket launch
Fri, Mar 27, 2009

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - Russia on Friday urged North Korea to refrain from its planned rocket launch which Pyongyang says is aimed at putting a satellite into orbit.

'North Korea would be better off refraining from it,' Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin told reporters in Moscow, Russian news agencies reported.

'There is no need to ignite passions around this problem,' he said. 'All the issues that arise in connection with the planned launch one way or another need to be decided by way of dialogue and consultations.'

Russia, he said, 'understands that the situation in the region of Northeast Asia is tense therefore it would be best if our partners from North Korea refrained from this launch.'

North Korea has said it intends to launch a satellite into orbit between April 4-8 and has placed the missile on a launch pad.

The United States has warned it would take the matter to the United Nations if Pyongyang goes ahead with the launch.

The United States, South Korea and Japan suspect the planned launch is a disguise for a long-range missile test.

A US counter-proliferation official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said earlier the missile was believed to be a Taepodong-2, a long-range missile that could, in theory, reach Alaska.

The last time North Korea launched a Taepodong-2, on July 4, 2006, the missile failed seconds after launch. Success this time would show that it is capable of reaching Alaska or Hawaii with a nuclear capable missile.

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