Indonesia urges restraint, regrets rocket launch

The News Desk in Jakarta/The Jakarta Post
Asia News Network

Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - The Indonesian government expressed its regret over the North Korean rocket launch early Friday and called for all parties concerned to exercise restraint.

"We deeply regret that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has chosen to proceed with the rocket launch, despite the appeals of many," Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in Jakarta on Friday.

Marty said at this critical juncture, it is important that all parties project calm and exercise maximum restraint. "More than ever, it is vital that diplomacy and dialogue be placed at the forefront in order to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," he added.

Indonesia has been aware of the potential impact of the launch on the stability, peace and security in the region. "Indonesia will always be alert to all the possibilities and every risk arising from the satellite launch," Marty said.

The North Korea's Unha-3 rocket took off from a new launch site on the west coast, near the Chinese border on Friday. The widely condemned rocket splintered into pieces over the Yellow Sea soon after takeoff, an embarrassing end to a launch that Pyongyang had infused with national pride during a week of high-level political meetings and celebrations.

Within minutes of the early morning launch, the United States and South Korea declared it a failure. North Korea acknowledged as much hours later in an announcement broadcast on state TV, saying the rocket and the satellite it was carrying had been unable to enter into orbit.

World leaders were swift to denounce the launch, calling it a covert test of missile technology and a flagrant violation of international resolutions prohibiting North Korea from developing its nuclear and missile programs.

In Geneva, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon slammed North Korea's long-range rocket test as deplorable, saying it was in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1874 and threatened regional stability.

"Despite its failure, the launch of a so-called 'application satellite' by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on April 13, 2012 is deplorable as it defies the firm and unanimous stance of the international community," he said in a statement.

Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight countries also said the North Korean action violated UN Security Council resolutions and called for an appropriate response by the UN Security Council.

In Moscow, Russia, China and India agreed on the need for restraint and an exclusively political and diplomatic response to North Korea's failed rocket launch.

Russia criticized North Korea, but said it opposes new sanctions against Pyongyang.

"We do not believe in new sanctions - they will not do anything in terms of resolving the situation," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, after talks with Chinese and Indian counterparts in Moscow, as quoted by Reuters.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi expressed concerns about the rocket and said Beijing hoped for "restrained actions by the corresponding sides with the aim of preserving stability on the peninsula".