China expresses regret at North Korea rocket launch

BEIJING Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:17am GMT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China expressed regret over North Korea's second-long range rocket launch of 2012 on Wednesday, calling on its isolated ally to abide by United Nations' Security Council resolutions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comments at a daily news briefing.

Pyongyang had defied pressure from the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan to stop the launch.

The North's only major diplomatic ally, China, had urged North Korea not to go ahead with the launch. But China has previously repeatedly fended off calls for harsher pressure and sanctions on the North, its neighbour and long-time ally that it sees as a strategic buffer against U.S. power.

(Reporting by Michael Martina, Writing by Sui-Lee Wee; editing by Jonathan Standing)

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