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NATO calls on North Korea to cancel rocket launch

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO on Wednesday called on North Korea to cancel plans for its second rocket launch of 2012, saying it would violate U.N. resolutions and could further destabilize the Korean peninsula.

NATO ambassadors expressed "grave concern at North Korea's declared intent to launch a rocket using ballistic missile technology this month", an alliance statement said.

"Such an act would be in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874. It would risk exacerbating tensions in the region and further destabilizing the Korean peninsula," it said.

"We call on the North Korean authorities to meet their obligations under international law and comply fully with the will of the international community as expressed by the United Nations Security Council and the moratorium on missile launches," it said.

North Korea's state news agency announced the decision to launch another space satellite on Saturday. Media reports say North Korea told neighbors it would take a path similar to that planned for a failed rocket launch in April.

Russia and China urged North Korea on Monday not to go ahead with the planned rocket launch, with Moscow saying it would violate restrictions imposed by the U.N. Security Council.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; editing by Andrew Roche)

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