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France

France calls for 'tough' response after North Korea 'satellite' launch

media North Korea's 'satellite' launch North Korean TV

France condemned North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket on Sunday as "senseless provocation" and called for a "rapid and tough" response from the UN Security Council. "France condemns with the utmost firmness the new flagrant violation by North Korea of the resolutions of the Security Council," the presidential Elysee Palace said in a statement.

"The launch... is a senseless provocation," it added, saying "France calls for a rapid and tough response from the international community at the Security Council" meeting in New York later Sunday.

North Korea said Sunday it had successfully put a satellite into orbit, with a rocket launch widely condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test for a weapons delivery system to strike the US mainland.

Pyongyang's state TV announced it successfully put a satellite into orbit, "legitimately exercising the right to use space for independent and peaceful purposes".

Many others saw a clear defiance of multiple UN resolutions -- a disguised test of a ballistic missile which could one day deliver a warhead as far as the US mainland.

The United Nations labelled the launch "deeply deplorable" and Japan termed it "absolutely intolerable". Even the isolated state's sole major ally China expressed "regret".

The international community is still struggling to reach agreement on how to respond to Pyongyang's latest nuclear test -- of what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb -- on January 6.

After Sunday's launch, South Korean and US defence officials announced they would begin formal talks on deploying a US missile defence system in South Korea.

The US says the highly advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system would be a deterrent necessitated by the North's advancing ballistic missile programme.

However, China and Russia fear it could trigger an arms race in a delicately balanced region.

 

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