NKorea defies neighbors with rocket launch

Pyongyang claims to have successfully launched satellite into orbit

NKorea defies neighbors with rocket launch

World Bulletin / News Desk

North Korea announced Sunday that it successfully blasted a satellite into orbit earlier in the day.

The official statement carried by Pyongyang's state-run media was backed up by a South Korean military official, who was quoted by local news agency Yonhap as admitting that "it's presumed that the projectile has entered into orbit."

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff had earlier revealed that the launch took place just after 9.30 a.m. (0030GMT) from the same Dongchang-ri site as when North Korea last blasted a rocket into space, in 2012.

There had been some confusion with conflicting reports suggesting that the launch might have failed.

Successful or not, the rocket was fired just a day after it emerged that Pyongyang had brought forward its launch window -- having initially told a United Nations maritime agency that the earliest date would be Feb. 8.

Clear weather Sunday may have been a factor in prompting North Korea to decide to go ahead earlier, but the reclusive state had been under pressure to cancel what it described as a peaceful mission.

UN resolutions bar the North from ballistic missile technology, but the authoritarian state is yet to be punished for its nuclear test last month.

Interrupting her country's long holiday weekend in honor of the Lunar New Year, South Korean President Park Geun-hye convened an emergency response meeting while calling for tougher sanctions against North Korea.

A statement from Seoul's presidential office condemned the rocket launch as "an extreme provocation”.

Key regional players China and Russia have been pushing for dialogue over strict punishment since last month's nuclear test in the North.

Last Mod: 07 Şubat 2016, 09:03
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