- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Pentagon on Tuesday warned North Korea not to go through with its planned satellite launch, which several nations suspect is a cover for an illegal ballistic missile test.

North Korea should not violate their international obligations,” Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters.

North Korea has said the launch would take place on or around April 15 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung.

The launch would violate the conditions of a recently negotiated deal in which the U.S. planned to give North Korea food aid in exchange for Pyongyang halting long-range missile tests, among other conditions. That deal has been suspended.

The Defense Department’s focus is on reinforcing to North Korea that “this is something that the international community objects to,” Mr. Little said.

“We, along with our partners in the region, are monitoring developments very closely,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday via telephone, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka discussed the planned North Korean missile launch.

Mr. Panetta and Mr. Tanaka reiterated their view that such a launch would violate U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, which bar North Korea from conducting long-range missile tests, Mr. Little said.

“Both leaders agreed to continue close contact leading up to and following a potential missile launch,” the Pentagon spokesman said. “North Korea must do the right thing.”