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Hillary Clinton says North Korea should scrub rocket launch if it wants 'better future'

Reuters

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that North Korea's planned rocket launch this week would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions and Pyongyang should forgo it if it wants a better future.

“I would just underscore that if North Korea wants a peaceful, better future for their people, it should not conduct another launch that would be a direct threat to regional security,'' she told reporters in Washington after talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba.

Gemba said Japan, a key U.S. ally, would cooperate with Washington and the international community in framing its response.

Russia, too, on Tuesday criticized North Korea.

"We consider Pyongyang's decision to conduct a launch of a satellite an example of disregard for U.N. Security Council decisions," state-run news agency RIA quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich as saying.

"It is necessary to seek a way out of the situation on the political-diplomatic track," he said. 

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the U.N. Security Council should agree on a credible response if North Korea flouts U.N. resolutions banning Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology.

NBC's Richard Engel answers reader questions from Pyongyang, North Korea

"Should it occur, the council will need to convene and to respond credibly," Rice, president of the 15-nation council this month, told reporters. "There is no disagreement among members of the Security Council that this is a provocative act."


North Korea: Our rocket is ready to launch

Space officials in North Korea told NBC Tuesday that all assembly and preparations for its new satellite and rocket have been completed. The launch will be sometime between Thursday and Monday, they said.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital, Pyongyang, the experts refused to answer the question about whether the rocket has been fueled yet, but they said assembly and other preparations are done.

They also repeated their insistence that that satellite is not a cover for a missile test, adding that "the right to have a satellite is a universal right of every nation."

Regarding U.S. concerns, the official said, "These are things that shouldn't be worried about."

Reuters, The Associated Press and NBC's Ed Flanagan contributed to this report.

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