- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2012

North Korea’s three-stage rocket launch, though a failure, is still a violation of international law, the Pentagon said Friday.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said Friday’s launch of the Unha-3 rocket violates North Korea’s obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, which ban long-range missile tests.

“We do view this in the context of broader regional security issues and broader plans and intentions on the part of the North Korea regime,” Mr. Little said.

“So it’s not just about missiles, it’s about other things that they have and might do, and so it’s very important that we keep a close eye on what North Koreans are doing.”

He said the U.S. currently has no indication about why the rocket failed, adding that the U.S. was not responsible for the failure.

“I am unaware of any U.S. role whatsoever in bringing down the missile,” he said, adding that experts are studying what happened along the rocket’s trajectory.

The North Koreans’ “recent track record is not good, with respect to Taepodong-2 launches,” Mr. Little said, referring to the communist country’s previous long-range missile tests. “This is in our estimation their third failed attempt in a number of years.”

“They obviously have a ways to go with their capabilities, but we have to keep a close eye,” he said. “We have to be vigilant here.”

Regarding reports that North Korea could soon conduct a nuclear weapon test, Mr. Little said: “We certainly hope they won’t take any additional provocative acts.”

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