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September 23, 2017

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Russia says N.Korea launch contradicts U.N. council

MOSCOW - North Korea's launch of a rocket contradicts a U.N. Security Council resolution restricting the use of ballistic technology, the Interfax news agency cited an unidentified Russian Foreign Ministry official as saying on Friday.

Russia had earlier urged Pyongyang not to conduct the launch, saying it would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution regardless of its purpose and complicate efforts to revive six-party talks over North Korea's nuclear program.

"U.N. Security Council Resolution No. 1874 demands that the DPRK (North Korea) refrain from any launches using ballistic rockets. This applies to both military and civilian launches," Interfax quoted the Russian official as saying.

North Korea admitted its much hyped long-range rocket failed to deliver a satellite into orbit on Friday while U.S. and South Korean officials said it crashed into the sea a few minutes after launch.

Regional powers have said that what North Korea has described as the launch of a weather satellite, months after Kim Jong-un succeeded his father as the leader of the reclusive state, is a disguised test of a long-range ballistic missile.

Russia, which shares a short border with North Korea - Moscow's client in the Soviet era - urged Pyongyang last month to refrain from the launch, expressing serious concern and calling for restraint from all sides.

Russia has often balanced previous criticism of North Korea's nuclear activities and its missile launches with calls on other major powers to refrain from belligerent actions against Pyongyang, which it says can be counterproductive.

A permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, Russia is displeased when nations defy council resolutions, and North Korean missile tests have sparked concern among Russians living on the country's Pacific coast in the past.

Russia has been a participant in six-party talks with Pyongyang last held three years ago and hosted the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il last August in Siberia, but has less influence on Pyongyang than China.

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