United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sternly rebuked North Korea on Thursday for its planned rocket satellite launch, which is scheduled to take place sometime before Tuesday.
I only hope that DPRK [North Korea] authorities will heed the calls of the international community. It is clearly a violation of Security Council Resolution 1874, Ban said in Geneva, according to Reuters.
North Korea says the launch is only designed to send a new observation satellite into orbit, but a number of global powers have condemned the launch as a thinly veiled test of a new long-range missile, one that could carry a nuclear warhead in the future.
On Thursday, Ban said the launch could further poison North Korea's relationship with its neighbors -- although he didn't give specifics, Ban's native South Korea is particularly on edge.
It seems to me that, considering what measures they have taken until today, by inviting foreign journalists, showing their launching pad, that they may proceed, unfortunately, the U.N. chief noted.
There were many countries in the region to have exercised their influence over DPRK authorities not to go ahead, but there is no indication that they may not launch this one. We are very much concerned about this.
China's ambassador to the United Nations also expressed concern about what the launch, and the current discussion surrounding it, means for regional security.
We have got to do everything possible to defuse tension rather than inflame the situation there, said Li Baodong in New York. So I think we should do everything possible to make sure that peace and stability is maintained.
Pyongyang said that the launch will happen sometime between April 12 and 16, timed to coincide with the celebrations of founder Kim Il-sung's centennial. According to AcccuWeather meteorologist Jim Andrews, the conditions are favorable for a launch up until Monday, when a cold front could trigger thunderstorms.