North Korea fires long-range rocket carrying satellite
PUBLISHED Sat, February 06, 2016 - 7:50pm EST
North Korea has launched a long-range ballistic missile carrying an Earth observation satellite, but members of the international community have denounced the move as a long-range missile test in disguise. There are reports that the launch may have failed. (more)
The Japanese and South Korean governments said the rocket launched at 9:01 a.m. Pyongyang time on Sunday, but there was no immediate word from North Korea's state-run news agency. Conflicting reports emerged later that suggested the launch may have failed.
The South Korean government claimed that the launch appeared to have failed, according to the Yonhap news agency. It said the first booster had detached successfully and fell into the Yellow Sea, but the rocket itself appeared to have 'burned up' southwest of Jeju Island.
U.S. Strategic Command said its systems detected and tracked the missile "into space," but the statement provided no specific details about the success of the launch. "The missile was tracked on a southerly launch over the Yellow Sea," the brief statement added.
According to the Japanese government, the long-range rocket is believed to have flown over the Okinawa Islands of southern Japan, but there was no impact to land. No action was taken by the Japanese military to intercept the rocket, despite a previous threat to shoot it down.
Sunday's launch prompted South Korean President Park Geun-hye to call for an emergency security meeting, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has condemned the launch as "absolutely intolerable," saying it violates UN Security Council resolutions.
The UN Security Council is expected to convene an emergency meeting on Sunday, the Reuters news wire reported, citing diplomats.
North Korea had initially notified the UN's International Telecommunication Union that it intended to launch the Kwangmyongsong Earth observation satellite between February 8 and February 25, but the North later announced that the launch could occur as early as February 7.
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North Korea has announced that a long-range rocket has successfully put an Earth observation satellite into orbit, just a month after the reclusive country carried out its fourth nuclear test. The launch is certain to heighten tensions on the Korean peninsula. (more) Read More
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