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NATO condemns NKorean long-range missile launch

Written by: Staff

Brussels, July 5: NATO condemned North Korea's test-firing of at least six missiles including a long-range weapon today, saying the move threatened the stability of the region and beyond.

''We regret and condemn this launch,'' ambassadors of the 26-country Western alliance said in a statement.

''(This) poses a serious threat to the region and the international community at large,'' it said, calling on North Korea to desist from any further long-range missile launches.

It urged North Korea to return immediately to six-party talks on its nuclear programme that have been stalled since November.

The European Commission also denounced the North Korean action.

''We strongly condemn the missile test launches,'' spokeswoman Emma Udwin told a news briefing in Brussels.

North Korea test-fired a barrage of missiles on Wednesday, including a long-range weapon said to be capable of reaching Alaska, ratcheting up tensions in north Asia and drawing international condemnation.

The U.N. Security Council was to meet later in the day, at Japan's request, to discuss the latest move by the reclusive Stalinist state, a French spokesman at the United Nations said.

The United States warned North Korea against any more provocative acts, and said Washington would take necessary measures to protect itself and its allies.

Russia, a party to the six-way talks on North Korea's nuclear programme, also condemned the launch.


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