Related News

Home » World

DPRK rocket fired despite warnings of world leaders

THE Democratic People's Republic of Korea defied international warnings and sent a rocket hurtling over the Pacific yesterday, a launch US President Barack Obama called an illicit test of the DPRK's long-range missile technology that threatened the security of nations "near and far."

Obama and European Union leaders meeting in Prague condemned the move and said the DPRK's dangerous defiance demanded an international response.

Diplomats at the United Nations scheduled an emergency Security Council session later in the day to discuss what Obama called a clear violation of UN resolutions.

North Korea said that it successfully sent its "Kwangmyongsong-2" satellite into orbit as part of its peaceful bid to develop its space program.

But the US and the Republic of Korea said no satellite or other object reached orbit yesterday, and joined Japan and other countries in accusing the DPRK of using the launch to test the delivery system for its long-range missile technology, a step they claim toward eventually mounting a nuclear weapon on a missile capable of reaching Alaska and beyond.

"North Korea's development of a ballistic missile capability, regardless of the stated purpose of this launch, is aimed at providing it with the ability to threaten countries near and far with weapons of mass destruction," a joint EU-US statement said yesterday.

The multistage rocket hurtled toward the Pacific, reaching Japanese airspace within seven minutes. Japanese warships did not activate interceptors because no debris appeared to hit its territory, officials in Tokyo said.

Four hours after the launch, North Korea declared it a success. An experimental communications satellite reached outer space in just over nine minutes and was orbiting Earth, the Korean Central News Agency said in Pyongyang.

"The satellite is transmitting the melodies of the immortal revolutionary paeans 'Song of General Kim Il Sung' and 'Song of General Kim Jong Il' as well as measurement data back to Earth," it said, referring to the country's late founder and his son, its current leader.

But South Korea's defense minister and the US military disputed that account. They said the first stage of the rocket fell into the waters between Korea and Japan, while the two other stages, and its payload, landed in the Pacific.

Japanese leader Taro Aso called the launch "an extremely provocative act that cannot be overlooked."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "The North Korea missile test today is completely unacceptable. It's a breach of international obligations. It will be condemned in every country across the world and they should desist from testing and proliferating nuclear weapons."

Russia called for calm. "We urge all states concerned to show restraint in judgments and action in the current situation, and to be guided by objective data on the nature of North Korea's launch," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he regretted the DPRK move "against strong international appeal" at a time when nuclear disarmament talks involving six nations remain stalled.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend