Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Private notice question on North Korea

The UK government has condemned North Korea's recent satellite launch, describing it as a "provocative act".

Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi was responding to a private notice question from crossbench peer Lord Alton of Liverpool, on 12 December 2012.

North Korea has successfully launched a long-range rocket in defiance of international warnings. Pyongyang said a satellite had been placed in orbit.

A UN resolution bans North Korea from conducting ballistic missile tests.

Baroness Warsi told peers the actions of North Korea would only serve to increase regional tensions and undermine prospects for peace in the peninsula.

She added: "The UK is urgently consulting with the UN Security Council and we have urged North Korea to return to constructive international negotiations."

Lord Alton of Liverpool described the rocket launch as a "wicked waste of resources", saying the reported $800m spent would have been enough to feed the entire population of North Korea for a year.

Shadow Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman also criticised the rocket launch, saying it could provide the grounds for a regional arms race.

South Korea, the US and Japan have condemned the launch as a disguised test of long-range missile technology.

China, North Korea's closest ally, expressed "regret" at the launch but the Xinhua news agency defended North Korea's "right to conduct peaceful exploration" of outer space.

Japan has deployed naval vessels and land-based missile interceptors and has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

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