By Henry Williams.
Image credit: deathandtaxes
Despite saying on Monday that “technical deficiencies” in the latest North Korean rocket might delay any launch until December 29th, those problems seems to have been solved.
According to Steve Herman, Voice of America’s Korea Bureau Chief, DPRK radio made an unscheduled announcement at 11:20 KST to confirm that the rocket launch and subsequent deployment of the satellite payload had been a “success”.
North Korean TV interrupted their broadcast to announce the launch:
South Korean’s Yonhap news agency said that the first stage of the Unha-3 rocket had crashed down in the Yellow Sea (west of the Korean peninsula), and the second stage came down near the Philippines.
The United States military later confirmed that an object had been successfully delivered in to orbit.
Leaders across the globe immediately condemned the launch:
Japan had threatened to shoot down any rocket, but took no action said a government spokesman. Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura voiced his country’s indignation:
“[I]t is extremely regrettable that North Korea forced the launch despite our protest. It is not acceptable and we strongly protest against it.”
The United Kingdom‘s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, issued a statement:
“I deplore the fact that the DPRK has chosen to prioritise this launch over improving the livelihood of its people. We will be summoning the DPRK Ambassador to the UK to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”
The United States acknolwedged the launch with little further comment:
“We noted the launch and we are monitoring the situation. We will have further official comment later.”
Update #1: China have expressed regret over the launch according to Reuters.
Russia also expressed “deep regret” at the launch:
“The new rocket launch carried out by North Korea flaunts the opinion of the international community, including calls from the Russian side, and leaves us with deep regret,”
The United States elaborated on their earlier comments:
“North Korea’s launch today – using ballistic missile technology despite express prohibitions by United Nations Security Council resolutions – is a highly provocative act that threatens regional security.”
NK News is carrying a picture of the launch:
And North Korea has released a second statement:
“Our scientists and technicians, holding up Kim Jong Il’s will, succeeded in putting the “Kwangmyongsang-3″ No.2 satellite into orbit, by “Unha-3,” a delivery rocket.”