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Isolated and impoverished North Korea said on Tuesday it was ready to go ahead with its proposed long-range rocket launch, an announcement that sparked immediate condemnation from South Korea and Russia and a plea from China, its main ally, for calm.

The launch of the Unha-3 rocket, which North Korea says will merely put a weather satellite into space, breaches U.N. sanctions imposed to prevent Pyongyang from developing a missile that could carry a nuclear warhead.

“We consider Pyongyang’s decision to conduct a launch of a satellite an example of disregard for U.N. Security Council decisions,” state-run news agency RIA quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich as saying.

Source: Maxim Duncan for Reuters.

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