A defiant North Korea launched the long-range rocket, going against several UN resolutions, claiming it was for a ‘peaceful and independent’ use of space
Seoul: North Korea yesterday said it had successfully put a satellite into orbit, with a rocket launch widely condemned as a ballistic missile test for a weapons delivery system to strike the US mainland.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attends the rocket launch. Pics/KCNA VIA KNS. (Insert) This picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korea’s rocket launch
The launch, which violated multiple UN resolutions, amounted to the North doubling down against an international community already struggling to punish Pyongyang for its nuclear test a month ago. There was no immediate external confirmation that the final stage of the satellite-bearing rocket had successfully achieved orbit, although a US defence official said the launch vehicle “appears to have reached space.”
In a special state TV broadcast, a female North Korean announcer, wearing a traditional Korean hanbok dress, said the launch, personally ordered by leader Kim Jong-Un, had “successfully put our Earth observation satellite Kwangmyong 4... into orbit.” While stressing that the launch represented the legitimate exercise of North Korea’s right to the “peaceful and independent” use of space, she also noted that it marked a “breakthrough in boosting our national defence capability.”
The rocket, carrying an Earth observation satellite, took off at around 9:00 am Pyongyang time, according to the South Korean defence ministry which was monitoring the launch site.
Its pre-orbital flight arc was planned to traverse the Yellow Sea and further south to the Philippine Sea, with both South Korea and Japan threatening to shoot it down if it encroached on their territory.
USA: We condemn today’s launch and North Korea’s determination to prioritise its missile and nuclear weapons programs over the well-being of its people.
Russia: We urgently recommend that the North Korean leadership think whether the policy of placing yourself in opposition to the international community is in the country’s interests.
China: The DPRK has the right to the peaceful use of space, but that right is limited by the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.
UN: Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his call on North Korea to halt its “provocative actions” and return to compliance with its international obligations.