BRUSSELS: The European Union on Sunday lashed North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket as “yet another outright and grave violation” of its obligations and urged Pyongyang to engage in dialogue with the international community.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said the use of “ballistic missile technology” came on the heels of North Korea’s “extremely serious and illegal nuclear test” on January 6.
“These actions represent a direct threat to international peace and security in the region and beyond, and they further aggravate tensions on the Korean Peninsula to the detriment of all,” Mogherini said in a statement on behalf of the 28-nation EU bloc.
The operation “is yet another outright and grave violation of its international obligations, as set out in several UN Security Council Resolutions,” Mogherini said.
North Korea earlier announced that it had placed a satellite into orbit under its right to the “peaceful and independent” use of space.
But the launch breached multiple UN resolutions aimed at preventing North Korea from acquiring a missile capable of carrying out a long-range strike, in addition to its suspected quest to build a nuclear arsenal.
“The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] must comply with its international obligations and abandon its programmes to develop ballistic missiles, nuclear capabilities and weapons of mass destruction in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner,” Mogherini said.
She added: “The DPRK must refrain from any action that could further increase regional tensions and I call once again for the DPRK to engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community, in particular in the framework of the Six-Party Talks.”
The EU will work with the UN Security Council, which was to meet later Sunday to discuss the launch, she said.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon called the launch “deeply deplorable” while US Secretary of State John Kerry denounced a “flagrant violation” of UN decisions.
Among the other permanent Security Council members, Britain, France and Russia expressed anger and concern, while North Korea’s main diplomatic protector China voiced “regret”.