Foreign ministers of the Group of Eight major economies on Thursday demanded that North Korea drop its plans to launch a rocket and pressed the communist state to abandon its nuclear weapons.
"The ministers demand that the DPRK not conduct the launch," said an unusually strongly worded statement issued after talks in Washington, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"They urged the DPRK to abandon all of its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner," the joint statement said.
North Korea has said it will fire a rocket by Monday to put a satellite into orbit amid national celebrations, but the Group of Eight statement characterized the plan as a missile launch.
The Group of Eight includes the United States, Japan and Russia -- three of the countries in moribund denuclearization talks with North Korea -- along with Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy.© ANP/AFP