U.S. says North Korean rocket launch would be 'highly provocative'

The United States on Saturday warned North Korea not to carry out its new plan to launch a space satellite sometime between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22.

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“A North Korean 'satellite' launch would be a highly provocative act that threatens peace and security in the region,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. 

She said that “any North Korean launch using ballistic missile technology is in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1718 and 1874.”

North Korea, according to press reports, announced Saturday that it will be launching a peaceful satellite into orbit. 

North Korea tried and failed to launch its first satellite in April, causing major embarrassment to supreme leader Kim Jung Un before an audience of international media observers. 

The new launch is seen partly as an attempt to disrupt upcoming South Korean presidential elections. 

The United States already has imposed strict sanctions on the "Hermit Kingdom" over its nuclear weapons program. 

North Korea withdrew from the Nonproliferation Treaty in 2003. The satellite launch is seen by the United States as part of an attempt to develop long-range weapons capable of striking Japan and America. 

“Devoting scarce resources to the development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles will only further isolate and impoverish North Korea. The path to security for North Korea lies in investing in its people and abiding by its commitments and international obligations,” Nuland said.

She said that the U.S. will be consulting with the six-party talk partners on how to proceed.

In addition to the two Koreas, the six party talks include China, the U.S., Russia and Japan.