North Korea Successfully Launches Long Range Rocket
After numerous failures, the North Koreans succeeded in launching a rocket that could reach across the Pacific:
(Reuters) – North Korea successfully launched a rocket on Wednesday, boosting the credentials of its new leader and stepping up the threat the isolated and impoverished state poses to opponents.
The rocket, which North Korea says put a weather satellite into orbit, has been labeled by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States.
“The satellite has entered the planned orbit,” a North Korean television news reader clad in traditional Korean garb announced, after which the station played patriotic songs with the lyrics “Chosun (Korea) does what it says”.
The rocket was launched just before 10 a.m. (0100 GMT), according to defense officials in South Korea and Japan, and was more successful than a rocket launched in April that flew for less than two minutes.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said that it “deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit”, the first time an independent body has verified North Korean claims.
North Korea followed what it said was a similar successful launch in 2009 with a nuclear test that prompted the U.N. Security Council to stiffen sanctions that it originally imposed in 2006 after the North’s first nuclear test.
North Korea is banned from developing nuclear and missile-related technology under U.N. resolutions, although Kim Jong-un, the youthful head of state who took power a year ago, is believed to have continued the state’s “military first” programs put in place by his late father, Kim Jong-Il.
This is a pretty blatant violation of a boat load of United Nations Resolutions, but it’s unclear what if anything the international community can do at this point. The U.S. and other nations already cut back on food aid to the nation when North Korea pursued it’s unsuccessful test launch back in April, and it’s unlikely that China would authorize any further sanctions out of the Security Council at this point. Instead, we’re likely to see a renewal of efforts by the U.S., Japan, and South Korea to beef up defense in the area.