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UN's Ban to raise N. Korea launch at Seoul summit

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he would raise North Korea's planned rocket launch at a Seoul nuclear summit next week, expressing "deep concern" over the issue.

"I am going to discuss the issue with the president of the Republic of (South Korea) in Seoul and I will also engage with other leaders attending the nuclear summit," Ban told a press conference during a visit to Malaysia.

The nuclear-armed North has announced it will launch a rocket next month to put a satellite into orbit, a move which the US and its allies see as a pretext for a long-range missile test.

A UN Security Council resolution passed after the North staged missile and nuclear tests in 2009 bans a ballistic missile launch for any purpose.

"As secretary-general of the United Nations I express my deep concern by the announcement of the government of the DPRK (on) their intention to launch a satellite," Ban said, using the acronym for North Korea's official name.

He called the planned launch "a clear violation" of Security Council resolutions and said that it "threatens the peace and security on the Korean peninsula."

He said it could also undermine recent positive signs on long-running international efforts to end North Korea's nuclear programme.

Under a deal announced last month but now in jeopardy, Washington would offer substantial food aid for a partial nuclear freeze.

"This (the rocket launch) is again undermining the positive atmosphere which has been established recently between the US and the DPRK," Ban said. (AFP)