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China Urges Calm Ahead Of Possible North Korea Rocket Launch

China has called for calm ahead of a possible rocket launch by nuclear-armed North Korea next month.

The announcement by the Foreign Ministry came after Japan ordered the deployment of a missile-defense system that officials say is capable of shooting down a North Korean rocket.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said all parties should "exercise restraint" and refrain from actions that would further "complicate the issue."

North Korea's communist-led regime has announced plans to launch a rocket in mid-April to put a satellite into orbit.

The United States and its regional allies South Korea and Japan have warned such a launch could serve as a pretext for a long-range missile test.

Such tests by North Korea have been banned by the United Nations Security Council.

With AFP and AP reporting