French Embassy urges NK to stop rocket launch
By Philip Iglauer
The French Embassy in Seoul appealed Thursday to Pyongyang to forgo its planned rocket launch while foreign ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations met in Washington, D.C. April 11-12 for discussions on North Korea, as well as continuing violence in Syria, nuclear talks with Iran.
North Korea is preparing to launch a satellite over the East China Sea in what almost all countries except for the North say would be a blatant violation of Security Council resolutions barring ballistic missile tests.
The North says its satellite launch is not proscribed.
“The space rocket launch envisaged by North Korea would clearly violate the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Emmanuel Gagniarre, Press Attache at the French Embassy, said in an email interview with The Korea Times, Thursday.
Foreign ministers from the wealthy-nation octet also met to prepare for May’s G8 heads of state summit at Camp David.
The ultra exclusive group includes United Nations Security Council (UNSC) permanent members Britain, France, the United States and Russia, as well as Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan.
Japan, Russia and the U.S. take part in the beleaguered Six Party Talks aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
“France does not take part in the 6-party talks, but it is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council of the U.N. and, as such, has responsibilities for peace and security in the world. France is strongly committed to nuclear and ballistic non-proliferation,” Gagniarre said.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who chairs the UNSC, has already said the Security Council must “respond credibly” if Pyongyang flouts U.N. resolutions and goes through with this “provocative act.”
North Korea has insisted that the resolution does not prohibit a satellite launch.
Although the technology used in a satellite launch and a ballistic missile launch is similar, both are prohibited, the official from the French Embassy said.
“Indeed, space launch vehicles and ballistic missiles use very similar technology. However, resolution 1874 notably demands that North Korea not conduct any ‘launch using ballistic missile technology.’ As soon as the announcement was made by Pyongyang on March 16, we ― like all our partners, called on North Korea to abandon these plans and to comply with its international obligations. We renew this appeal,” Gagniarre said.
France does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea.
The G8 foreign ministers also discussed transnational issues including terrorism, piracy, food security and support for democratic change in the Middle East and North Africa.