Chavez Sides With Russia On North Korea Rocket Launch

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday suggested the international community "avoid the winds of war" after a rocket launch by North Korea.

Chavez made the remark in an interview with Venezuela's state radio from Tokyo as he began a visit aimed at deepening ties with Japan.

"Due to the lack of information, and contradictory information ... I prefer to have a great deal of prudence as the Russian government has said," Chavez said in the radio interview. "And to avoid the winds of war. That's important."

The U.S. and its allies, including Japan, sought punishment, meanwhile, for North Korea's rocket launch, holding an emergency U.N. meeting in response to what some believe was a long-range missile test.

"It's an issue that's generating great concern in the world," Chavez said.

The Venezuelan leader has maintained friendly ties with North Korea, though his government in 2006 joined many other countries in condemning Pyongyang's announcement it had tested a nuclear weapon. The North Korean government has congratulated Chavez on his past electoral wins, including in February when he won a referendum that eliminated term limits.