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RI concerned with North
Korea `satellite' launch

Indonesia has expressed concern over the "satellite" launch by North Korea suspected internationally of being a missile test, citing the risk of "escalating tensions" in the Korean Peninsula, Indonesia said.

"The launch has increased the risk of tension although it still has to be verified whether it was a satellite or a missile. Our main concern is North Korea's launch has gone against the nuclear disarmament *spirit* in East Asia," Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah told The Jakarta Post on Sunday..

"We have called for the renewal of six-party talks which stalled last year because suspicions will continue to grow as long as parties do not meet and negotiate," he said.

The six-party members are China, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States, who had been working on scaling back North's nuclear program since 2003 in exchange for economic incentives. The last round of negotiations ended December last year in a stalemate after Pyongyang refused to allow international inspectors greater access to verify whether nuclear disarmament steps were being taken.

North Korea launched its long-range rocket on Sunday in a move international analysts claim violated UN resolution 1718, imposed after Pyongyang tested a nuclear device in 2006. Under the resolution, North Korea must abstain from any activity linked to its ballistic missile program. As the launch technology for satellites and ballistic missiles are identical, Washington, Seoul and Tokyo have argued this space launch by North Korea contributed to the development of its missile capabilities.

The concerned nations claimed the launch could be testing a ballistic missile with the capacity to carry a warhead potentially as far as Alaska, a distance of approximately 6,700 km.

Hikmahanto Juwana, professor of international law at the University of Indonesia, said the launch would spark tensions not only in Asia but also worldwide during a time when leaders were preoccupied with solving the economic downturn.

"The main concern now is to ensure North Korea does not engage in any activities that will endanger global peace. Whether it is a missile or not, the world will not want to see any new pressure to their regional stability as they concentrate on coping with the economic problems," he said.

This launch may have been North Korea flexing its military muscle, he said, in response to rumors of its leader's ailing health and potential transition of power.

"This launch may have just been a display of supremacy from a nation facing international pressure."

International analysts have said Washington and Tokyo may seek a UN resolution condemning the reclusive state's action, although this may be met with resistance from China and Russia.

However, Hikmahanto said China and Russia would probably take a tougher attitude toward North Korea at the UN Security Council, in line with the United States and Japan.

"They might not talk about incentives for North Korea to scrap its missile activities. They might want to impose sanctions now," he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the launch was not conducive to peace and stability and called on North Korea to return to six-country talks on ending its nuclear programs.

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