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China Urges Cautious Response to N. Korea Launch


China is urging the United Nations Security Council to respond with restraint to North Korea's controversial rocket launch and is refusing to condemn Pyongyang's actions.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Tuesday the issue also involves a country's right to peaceful use of outer space.

She told reporters in Beijing that while there are similarities between rocket technology and missile technology, China believes that launching a satellite is different than firing a ballistic missile.

Japan's foreign minister, Hirofumi Nakasone, said North Korea will have the right to develop space technology after it gives up its nuclear program. He said Japan feels threatened by rocket technology that could be used to fire a nuclear weapon at Japan.

Japan says the North Korean rocket fired on Sunday flew over two Japanese prefectures for about seven minutes.

Japan's lower house of parliament passed a resolution Tuesday approving new sanctions against North Korea. Japan's Cabinet is expected to push for new economic sanctions later this week.

Diplomats from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are expected to meet for a second time Tuesday to discuss a response to North Korea's rocket launch. They met Monday with Japanese diplomats after a full session of the Security Council on Sunday failed to agree on a response to the launch.

The United States and Britain are calling for a tough response to the launch. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso told reporters Tuesday that a clear message must be sent to North Korea. But he acknowledged divisions within the Security Council.

China and Russia, which have veto power in the Security Council, are pushing for a more muted response.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday countries should not jump to hasty conclusions about the rocket launch.

The U.S. military said North Korea did not put a satellite into orbit as claimed. The Pentagon said the launch results showed Pyongyang does not have the technology for an intercontinental ballistic missile flight.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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