Washington - US Republicans condemned North Korea's
botched rocket launch on Thursday and blamed Democratic President Barack
Obama for having sought to "appease" Pyongyang with a food aid deal.
presidential hopeful Mitt Romney portrayed the launch of the long-range
rocket as a failure of foreign policy, widely seen as the area where
Obama is strongest going into November's presidential election.
condemn in the strongest possible terms the attempted North Korean
missile launch," Romney said in a statement after news of the launch,
which Washington, Seoul and Tokyo said appeared to have failed.
the missile test failed, Pyongyang's action is another blatant
violation of unanimous UN Security Council resolutions and demonstrates
once again that Pyongyang is committed to developing long-range missiles
with the potential of carrying nuclear weapons."
Romney said the
weapons programme "poses a clear and growing threat to the United
States, one for which President Obama has no effective response".
of approaching Pyongyang from a position of strength, President Obama
sought to appease the regime with a food-aid deal that proved to be as
naive as it was short-lived."
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, head of the powerful House Foreign
Affairs committee, also condemned the launch as betraying North Korea's
"hostile intentions" and took aim at the food aid programme.
launch, taking place weeks after the [Obama] administration secured a
'promise' from Pyongyang to suspend missile tests in exchange for food
aid, illustrates once again that trying to negotiate with the regime is a
fool's errand," she said in a statement.
"Rather than working
towards the next doomed agreement with North Korea, or other rogue
regimes, the United States must impose stronger penalties and pressure
on those who threaten global security."
The US scheme to send
food aid to the nuclear-armed North's impoverished population was
suspended after the North's announcement that it would launch the
rocket, which Washington said proved Pyongyang could not be trusted.
Korea has said the rocket would place a satellite in orbit for peaceful
research purposes, but Western critics see the launch as a thinly
veiled ballistic missile test, banned by United Nations resolutions.