TOKYO (TR) – North Korea defied the international community Wednesday and launched into orbit what it said was an “earth observation satellite,” Kyodo News reported, citing confirmation by both Japan and South Korea.
The rocket flew over the southern Japanese island of Okinawa and landed in Philippine waters, the Japanese government said, according to Kyodo. The Philippines declared a no-fly, no-sail zone off of northern Luzon Island in response to the launch, and Tokyo called on the United Nations to convene an emergency session of the Security Council, the news agency said.
The United States and its Asian allies believe the launch is part of a covert long-range missile program by the communist nation aimed at delivering nuclear warheads. The launch, which violated previous U.N. Security Council resolutions, followed a similar attempt in April that failed on liftoff.
Pyongyang called the operation a success. “The satellite entered its preset orbit,” Kyodo reported the official Korean Central News Agency as saying. “The second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 successfully lifted off from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province,” it said.
South Korea’s foreign minister warned the launch threatens peace and stability in the region and the world.
Source: Kyodo News
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