The UN, Japan, the US, the EU, and others have roundly condemned North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket at 2:30am GMT. US President Barack Obama said North Korea has "further isolated itself" from the world.
AFP - US President Barack Obama on Sunday blasted North Korea's rocket launch as "provocative" and pledged to take action at a UN Security Council meeting.
Obama, in Prague on his first tour of Europe, said that North Korea had fired a Taepodong-2 missile in "clear violation" UN Security Council Resolution 1718, which prohibits any missile-related activities by Pyongyang.
"With this provocative act, North Korea has ignored its international obligations, rejected unequivocal calls for restraint, and further isolated itself from the community of nations.
Obama said the United States would consult with allies Japan and South Korea to bring the issue to the UN Security Council. Diplomats said the Council would meet on Sunday at 3 pm (1900 GMT).
"I urge North Korea to abide fully by the resolutions of the UN Security Council and to refrain from further provocative actions."
"Preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery is a high priority for my administration," Obama said, hours before giving a major speech on the issue in the Czech capital.
"The United States is fully committed to maintaining security and stability in northeast Asia and we will continue working for the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through the six-party talks," the president added.
The missile launch is an early test for Obama, who had joined other world leaders in urging the hardline communist state to drop plans to test a missile.
"Certainly it threatens the whole safely and security of that region," State Department spokesman Fred Lash said as he confirmed the launch late Saturday Washington time.
The UN Security Council had approved Resolution 1718 after Pyongyang carried out a nuclear test in 2006,
That resolution had imposed sanctions on military goods and luxury products to North Korea and warned it not to carry out any further nuclear of ballistic missile tests.
Congressman Howard Berman, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the UN Security Council should take further action.
"The test is an unnecessary provocation that raises tensions in the region," Berman said in a statement.
"Since the launch violates UN Security Council resolution 1718, I urge the Security Council to take strong and concerted action to demonstrate that Pyongyang’s actions are unacceptable," he said.
Berman called on China and Russia -- which have diplomatic ties with Pyongyang -- to join ranks with the United States and its allies Japan and South Korea in condemning the test.
The five countries are part of deadlocked negotiations on ending North Korea's nuclear program. A 2007 aid-for-disarmament deal has stalemated over feuding on how North Korea would verify it is giving up its nuclear weapons.
Bruce Klingner, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said the UN Security Council should toughen sanctions on North Korea.
"North Korea’s defiance represents the first foreign policy test of whether the Obama administration’s actions will match its strong rhetoric," he said.
"If the United Nations Security Council wants to salvage any credibility for its resolutions and to uphold the tenet of nonproliferation, it has no choice but to fully enforce the existing resolutions."
Date created : 2009-04-05