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Philippines protests NKorea rocket launch

In this April 8, 2012, file photo, a North Korean soldier salutes in front of the country's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines strongly condemned North Korea's rocket launch on Wednesday as its debris fell in the sea 300 kilometers east of the country.

"The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) is in clear violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1695 (2006), 1874 (2009), and 1718 (2006), which explicitly demanded DPRK not to use or conduct any launch using ballistic missile technology and the suspension of its ballistic missile programme," the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

"The Philippines firmly urges the DPRK to desist from acts of provocation and to end its use or testing of ballistic missile technology," it added.

The DFA said that the Philippines joins other governments in urging the DPRK "to undertake steps towards confidence-building and engagement with the international community in order to ensure peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the entire Asia Pacific region."

The Philippine government earlier declared a "no-fly, no-fish, no-sail zone" off northern Luzon Island after North Korea launched a rocket Wednesday.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) chief Benito Ramos said North Korea gave no advance warning of the rocket launch.

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Ramos said the Philippines did not have the technology to track the trajectory of the rocket.

The NDRRMC had been on red alert due to the rocket launch.

Other neighboring countries, including Japan, condemned the rocket launch.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said it has registered a "strong protest" with North Korea over its rocket launch.

It said that Tokyo also immediately requested consultations on the launch within the U.N. Security Council.

In a report by the Associate Press, North Korea had announced that the country had successfully put a peaceful satellite into orbit with its long-range Unha-3 rocket — the North's stated goal of the launch.

South Korea, as well as Japan, said they couldn't immediately confirm that. The launch was something of a surprise, as North Korea had indicated technical problems with the rocket and recently extended its launch window to Dec. 29.

An American space expert, meanwhile, confirmed that North Korea had successfully launched a satellite into space.

Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said the three-stage rocket launched delivered the satellite into orbit and constituted "a perfect success for North Korea."

McDowell that based on his own calculations, an object identified by U.S. space command as "39026, 2012-072A" was from the North Korean satellite.

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