Brussels (AFP) - NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Sunday condemned North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket as a blatant breach of five UN resolutions and demanded Pyongyang comply with international law.
In a statement, Stoltenberg said he strongly condemned the launch, which entailed the use of ballistic missile technology and came after a widely-condemned nuclear test on January 6.
"This launch is in direct violation of five United Nations Security Council Resolutions," he said.
Those resolutions "repeatedly call for North Korea to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme, to re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launching and not to conduct any further nuclear test or any launch using ballistic missile technology," he said.
"NATO continues to call on the North Korean authorities to comply with their obligations under international law, not to threaten with or conduct any launches using ballistic missile technology and to refrain from any further provocative actions."
North Korea earlier announced that it had placed a satellite into orbit under its right to the "peaceful and independent" use of space.
But the launch breached multiple UN resolutions aimed at preventing North Korea from acquiring a missile capable of carrying out a long-range strike, in addition to its suspected quest to build a nuclear arsenal.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon called the launch "deeply deplorable" while US Secretary of State John Kerry denounced a "flagrant violation" of UN decisions.
Among the other permanent Security Council members, Britain, France and Russia expressed anger and concern, while North Korea's main diplomatic protector China voiced "regret".
The European Union described the launch as "yet another outright and grave violation" of North Korea's obligations and urged Pyongyang to engage in dialogue with the international community.