North Korea defies international warnings to launch long-range rocket
North Korea launched a long-range rocket this morning, attracting immediate widespread condemnation from the international community. The country has claimed that the rocket was launched to place a satellite into orbit, which they have now hailed as a success. However, the rocket is widely regarded as a cover for testing ballistic missile technology, banned by a 2009 UN Security Council resolution.
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has condemned the launch as a provocative breach of this resolution.
An emergency adviser meeting has already taken place in South Korea, called by President Lee Myung-bak.
In a statement issued this morning, Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague said: “I strongly condemn the DPRK’s (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) satellite launch today, this provocative act will increase tensions in the region.
“I deplore the fact that the DPRK has chosen to prioritise this launch over improving the livelihood of its people.”
The White House has called the launch a “highly provocative act that threatens regional security”.
Both Russia and China, who had warned against the launch, have also expressed regret and concern, with China calling on Pyongyang to adhere to resolutions, while Japan have called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, thought to be taking place later today.
It is believed that the first stage of the rocket, which was launched from North Korea’s west coast, fell into the Yellow Sea and the second into the Philippine Sea.
This was the second such launch under the leadership of Kim Jong Un. The last three-stage rocket exploded minutes after taking off in April of this year, crashing into the sea.
Lucy Cait Jordan