Anti-North Korea protesters, who are also pro-US conservative and right-wing, pretend to launch a mock North Korean missile which is bound with an effigy of the North's leader Kim Jong-Un, during a protest against their rival's plan to launch a missile, in Seoul, March 20 2012. South Korea on Monday condemned North Korea's planned rocket launch as a 'grave provocation', saying it was a disguised attempt to develop a long-range ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Bulgaria has become the latest of a number of countries to call on North Korean to reconsider its planned April 2012 satellite launch.
Bulgaria was seriously concerned by North Korea’s intention, which Sofia saw as contrary to the moratorium announced by North Korea on February 29 2012 on nuclear testing and the launch of long-range missiles, and could hamper efforts to resume six-party talks and the establishment of lasting peace and security on the Korean peninsula, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vessela Tcherneva said on March 20.
"We call on the DPRK authorities to adhere to their international commitments, in particular to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874, and to reconsider this decision," Tcherneva said.
On March 17, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that she was deeply concerned by the North Korean announcement about plans to carry out a satellite launch next month.
This launch would be contrary to North Korea’s international obligations, in particular under UN Security Council resolution 1874, Ashton said.
"It would also undermine ongoing diplomatic efforts to create an environment conducive for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks on the nuclear issue."
Ashton called on North Korea to confirm as a matter of urgency that it would refrain from the proposed launch and to resume work on mutual confidence building.
On March 16, US state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that North Korea’s announcement that it plans to conduct a missile launch in direct violation of its international obligations was "highly provocative".
UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 clearly and unequivocally prohibit North Korea from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology, Nuland said.
"Such a missile launch would pose a threat to regional security and would also be inconsistent with North Korea’s recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches. We call on North Korea to adhere to its international obligations, including all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. We are consulting closely with our international partners on next steps," she said.
The same day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged North Korea to reconsider its decision to launch a so-called "application satellite" next month and fully comply with relevant Security Council resolutions.
"The Secretary-General urges the DPRK to reconsider its decision in line with its recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches," said a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson, the UN News Centre said.
Ban reiterated his call on the East Asian nation to "fully comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council," particularly resolution 1874 of 2009 which bans "any launch using ballistic missile technology."
That resolution imposed additional sanctions on DPRK after previous demands that the country not conduct any further nuclear or missile tests went unheeded.
On March 16, Russia’s foreign ministry said that he announcement about an upcoming launch of a satellite in North Korea "causes serious concern".
"We call on Pyongyang not to put itself in opposition to the international community, to refrain from actions that increase tension in the region and create additional complications for the relaunch of six-sided negotiations about the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula," Russia’s foreign ministry said, quoted by Reuters.
The ministry also called for "maximum restraint from all sides", suggesting aggressive responses by North Korea's neighbours would also be ill-advised, Reuters said.