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China expert downplays North Korea rocket launch

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – A Chinese government expert says North Korea’s plans to launch a long-range rocket should not dominate discussions about nuclear security being held this week in the capital of rival South Korea.

China Arms Control and Disarmament Association head Li Hong said Monday that North Korea’s announcement of plans to launch the rocket in mid-April appeared calculated to overshadow discussions at the Nuclear Security Summit. The meeting opens Monday in Seoul, attended by President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

China provides North Korea with diplomatic support and economic assistance and Obama has called on Beijing to pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its launch plans. Li declined to say what specific steps China had taken over the planned launch.

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