Wednesday, December 12, 2012

North Korea raises concerns after rocket launch

North Korea has defied international warnings and raised concerns in the region with an apparently successful launch of a long-range rocket.

The rocket was launched at 09:49 local time [00:49 GMT] and appears to have successfully placed a satellite into orbit. The US confirmed an object had been put into space though it is not yet clear what the object is.


South Korea, the US and Japan have condemned the launch as a disguised test of long-range missile technology. Meanwhile the EU have already called for an increase of sanctions against the rogue state. China too has criticised the launch and expressed "regret".

The US called it a "highly provocative act that threatens regional security", while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said it was a "clear violation" of the UN resolution.

Japan has meanwhile called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and reports suggest this could take place later on Wednesday. A spokesman for Japan's government called the launch "extremely regrettable", adding: "Our country cannot tolerate this. We strongly protest to North Korea."

North Korea's closest neighbour was extremely concerned. The South Korean government said the launch was confrontational and a "threat to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the world."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague strongly condemned the launch, saying it was a "clear violation" of UN Security Council resolutions. A UN resolution passed in June 2009 after North Korea's second nuclear test banned Pyongyang from ballistic missile tests. Hague also said the North Korean ambassador would be dressed down over the launch. "We will be summoning the DPRK ambassador to the UK to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK will urgently consult partners in the United Nations Security Council on our response to this development," Hague told reporters.

North Korea had tried to launch a rocket into space in April, however it broke apart shortly after lift-off and crashed in the Yellow Sea.


Today's launch undermines theories that the young North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, might take steps to moderate his nation's uncompromising approach to foreign relations. "This is something that we have to worry about," Philip Yun, who advised former President Bill Clinton on North Korean issues, told CNN.

The news was brought to the North Korean people in a very different way. Television bulletins were jubilant and triumphant as the propaganda department went into overdrive. The official Korean Central News Agency said Pyongyang had succeeded in its mission of placing a satellite in orbit. "The launch of the second version of our Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite from the Sohae Space Centre... on December 12 was successful," KCNA said. "The satellite has entered the orbit as planned."

More reports: BBC / Sky / CNN / al Jazeera / France 24 / RT / PressTV / Xinhua

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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