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Breaking News:

North Korea Has Fired Long-Range Rocket

North Korea Has Fired Long-Range Rocket

Defiant North Korea launches long-range rocket

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North Korea Has Fired Long-Range Rocket

Posted on 1 January 2013 by "the witness"

South Korea Says:

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: December 11, 2012

Updated: December 12, 2012 at 9:33 AM ET  

In this Oct. 10, 2010 photo, Kim Jong Un, right, along with his father and North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, left, attends during a massive military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

In this Oct. 10, 2010 photo, Kim Jong Un, right, along with his father and North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, left, attends during a massive military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea, though struggling to feed its people, is now one of the few countries to have successfully launched a satellite into space from its own soil. But leaders in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo immediately pushed for consequences over a rocket launch widely seen as a test that takes the country one step closer to being capable of lobbing nuclear bombs over the Pacific.

The surprising, successful launch of a three-stage rocket — similar in design to a model capable of carrying a nuclear-tipped warhead as far as California — raises the stakes in the international standoff over North Korea's expanding atomic arsenal. As Pyongyang refines its technology, its next step may be conducting its third nuclear test, experts warn.

The U.N. Security Council, which has punished North Korea repeatedly for developing its nuclear program, condemned Wednesday's launch and said it will urgently consider "an appropriate response." The White House called the launch a "highly provocative act that threatens regional security," and even the North's most important ally, China, expressed regret.

In Pyongyang, however, pride over the scientific advancement outweighed the fear of greater international isolation and punishment. North Koreans clinked beer mugs and danced in the streets to celebrate.

"It's really good news," North Korean citizen Jon Il Gwang told The Associated Press as he and scores of other Pyongyang residents poured into the streets after a noon announcement to celebrate the launch by dancing in the snow. "It clearly testifies that our country has the capability to enter into space."

Wednesday's launch was North Korea's fifth bid since 1998. An April launch failed in the first of three stages, raising doubts among outside observers whether North Korea could fix what was wrong in just eight months, but those doubts were erased Wednesday.

The Unha rocket, named after the Korean word for "galaxy," blasted off from the Sohae launch pad in Tongchang-ri, northwest of Pyongyang, shortly before 10 a.m. (0100 GMT), just three days after North Korea indicated that technical problems might delay the launch.

A South Korean destroyer patrolling the waters west of the Korean Peninsula immediately detected the launch. Japanese officials said the first rocket stage fell into the Yellow Sea and a second stage fell into the Philippine Sea hundreds of kilometers (miles) farther south.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed that "initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit."

In an indication that North Korea's leadership was worried about the success of the launch, the plan was kept quiet inside North Korea until a special noon broadcast on state TV declared the launch a success. Pyongyang was much more open during its last attempt in April, and even took the unusual step of inviting scores of foreign journalists for the occasion, but that rocket splintered shortly after takeoff.

At one hotel bar Wednesday, North Koreans watched raptly, cheering and applauding at the close of the brief broadcast. As vans mounted with loudspeakers drove around the capital announcing the news, North Koreans bundled up in parkas ran outside to celebrate.

Pyongyang did not immediately release images of the launch, but hours later Associated Press reporters at the Pyongyang satellite command center viewed a playback showing the rocket blasting off against a snowy backdrop in the northwest. The white rocket was emblazoned with the name "Unha-3" and the North Korean flag.

Director Kim Hye Jin said the satellite was broadcasting "Song of Gen. Kim Il Sung" and "Song of Gen. Kim Jong Il" in space. He reiterated North Korea's intention to keep launching satellites in the future.

North Korean space officials say the satellite would be put into orbit to study crops and weather patterns.

But the launch could leave Pyongyang even more isolated and cut off from much-needed aid and trade.

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Defiant North Korea launches long-range rocket

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/12/2012

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

North Korea. North Korea fired a long-range rocket Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 in its second launch under its new leader

North Korea. North Korea fired a long-range rocket Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 in its second launch under its new leader

United Nations Security Council to meet in emergency session

In clear defiance of threatened international sanctions, North Korea has launched a long-range rocket that many say is an important step to developing technology to deliver nuclear warheads. According to neighbor and longtime rival South Korea's, the launch appeared to have been a success, with all three stages performing as planned.

North Korea maintains that the launch is aimed merely at putting a weather satellite in orbit. North Korea has been banned from conducting missile and nuclear-related tests under U.N. sanctions imposed after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The launch of the second version of our Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite from the Sohae Space Center. on December 12 was successful," the official Korean Central News Agency said. "The satellite has entered the orbit as planned."

"The rocket stages fell on areas in line with its earlier announcement and the launch appears to be successful," the agency quoted military officials as saying.

The launch was also confirmed by the North American Aerospace Command, or NORAD. United States officials also confirmed the launch and that "an object" had achieved orbit following it.

The U.N. Security Council will meet to discuss the launch in defiance of threats of sanctions. "The Japanese and the Americans have requested a Security Council meeting, which will take place late on Wednesday morning" a western diplomat said.

The launch comes after an embarrassing failed attempt in April when a North Korean rocket fell apart just minutes after blast-off.

North Korea maintains that the launch is aimed merely at putting a weather satellite in orbit. North Korea has been banned from conducting missile and nuclear-related tests under U.N. sanctions imposed after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests. However, under new leader Kim Jong-un, the country's government has pledged to bolster its nuclear arsenal unless Washington scraps what Pyongyang calls a hostile policy.

"This could be called a missile test or it could be called the launch of a satellite," Richard Broinowski, a former Australian ambassador to South Korea says. He says it is important not to rush to conclusions regarding the intent of the launch.

"It's the same vehicle in both cases. And that's why I think there's a certain double standard here: when North Korea does this, it's obviously according to the United States, a missile test, but when South Korea or Japan launches their own missiles to put satellites in orbit, it is regarded as a peaceful demonstration of their technology," he said.

Tensions remain high between North and South. The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war, as the 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce. The United States maintains nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea as a buttress against any North Korean aggression.

© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM

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