Embarrassment for North Korea after rocket launch fails
The much-anticipated North Korean rocket launch which probably caused a further deterioration in the relationship between the reclusive communist state and its neighbours, today ended in failure.
The Unha-3 rocket, which Washington claimed was cover for a ballistic missile test and drew condemnation from around the world, exploded into about 20 pieces and fell into the Yellow Sea.
In a rare show of candour, North Korean state TV acknowledged that the three-stage rocket had failed to enter orbit. “Scientists, technicians and experts are now looking into the cause of the failure,” the Korean central news agency said.
North Korea justified the aim of the launch to put a satellite into orbit – a move marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il-sung.
But the US and other nations said the launch constituted a disguised test of long-range missile technology banned under UN resolutions.
The failure to launch the rocket came as an embarrassment for the communist regime, which was seeking to reinforce the legitimacy of its new leader, 28-year-old Kim Jung-un, appointing him “first chairman” of the country’s top decision-making body, the National Defence Commission, state media said.
The White House and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, both condemned the launch, calling it deplorable – despite its failure. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the launch “violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments”, under which Pyongyang had agreed to suspend its nuclear and missile tests in return for US food aid. UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the launch as “deplorable”, saying it “defies the firm and unanimous stance of the international community”.
Following the failed rocket launch, Kim Jong-un led tens of thousands of people in lavish celebrations in central Pyongyang, unveiling giant statues representing his late father and grandfather.