China concerned over NKorea planned rocket launch

A South Korea's veteran holds a placard showing North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un and flag during an anti-North Korea protest rally in Seoul, South Korea, March 16, 2012. North Korea announced Friday it will launch a long-range rocket mounted with a satellite in honor of late President Kim Il Sung's April birthday.
AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

(AP) BEIJING - China has expressed its concern about North Korea's plan to launch a satellite into space, saying all parties should avoid escalating tensions in the region.

The official Xinhua News Agency says Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun met with the North's ambassador to China, Ji Jae Ryong, to voice Beijing's concern over the planned launch.

Zhang told the ambassador that China hopes all parties will remain calm, exercise restraint and avoid heightening tensions.

North Korea announced Friday that it plans to blast a satellite into space next month to mark the centenary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung. The U.S. has called it a "deal-breaker" for a new agreement in which the U.S. would exchange food aid for nuclear concessions.

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