Seoul, April 5 (AP): Nuclear-armed North Korea today fired a rocket that appeared to have fizzled in the Pacific Ocean but positioned a defiant Kim Jong II to make demands from an international community worried that it indicates the capacity to fire a long-range missile.
US President Barack Obama and other national leaders immediately criticised the Korean leader for threatening peace and stability of nations near and far. The UN Security Council approved an emergency session today afternoon in New York, following a request from Japan just minutes after liftoff.
North Korea broke the rules, once again, by testing a rocket that could be used for long-range missiles, Obama said in Prague.
It creates instability in their region, around the world. This provocation underscores the need for action, not just this afternoon in the UN Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.
Pyongyang claims it launched an experimental communications satellite into orbit today and that its transmitting data and patriotic songs. US and South Korean officials claim the entire rocket, including whatever payload it was carrying, ended up in the ocean.
But it doesnt really matter how successful the rocket launch was. Kims critics claim he really was testing a ballistic missile capable of hitting US territory.
While the communist state has repeatedly been belligerent and threatening — as it was when it carried out an underground nuclear blast and tested ballistic missiles in recent years — Pyongyang showed increased savvy this time that may make severe punishment more complicated than ever.
Unlike its previous provocations, the North notified the international community that the launch was coming and the route the rocket would take.
Using a possible loophole in sanctions imposed after the 2006 nuclear test that barred the North from ballistic missile activity, the government claimed it was exercising its right to peaceful space development.