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China concerned over NKorea planned rocket launch

(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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