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Tuesday, April 7

Government condemns North Korean missile launch

The New Zealand government today codemned North Korea's satellite launch, which defied strong and widespread international opposition.

"North Korea's actions are provocative, despite their claim that the satellite launch was for peaceful, scientific purposes. Today's events have not helped efforts to build peace and stability in the region," Foreign Minister Murray McCully said.

"The launch runs contrary to clear messages given to North Korea by UN Security Council resolutions following missile and nuclear tests in 2006, which require North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile programme, and to restrain from actions that might aggravate tensions.

"It is clearly a backwards step after promising signs last year that North Korea was moving towards denuclearisation under the Six Party Talks framework.

"The New Zealand government believes it is in the best interests of all parties for Pyongyang to focus on meeting the commitments it has already agreed to during the Six Party Talks process, and to refrain from further actions that only create greater unease and suspicion," Mr McCully said.