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North Korea rocket launch sparks universal concern

AFP
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The launch says that it paid tribute to Kim Jong-Il

'Tribute to former leader':North Korea hailed its successful long-range rocket launch as a ground-breaking event that paid tribute to former leader Kim Jong-Il a year after his death.FILE Photo: AP
'Tribute to former leader':North Korea hailed its successful long-range rocket launch as a ground-breaking event that paid tribute to former leader Kim Jong-Il a year after his death.FILE Photo: AP

North Korea fired a long-range rocket on Wednesday days before the first anniversary of its former ruler's death, magnifying the threat posed by the nuclear-armed State and provoking outrage from the U.S.

Regional US allies were also angered and even China expressed concern at the successful launch by its wayward communist ally — while also calling on all sides to avoid "stoking the flames".

The launch triggered plans for an emergency session of the UN Security Council, which has imposed round after round of sanctions against North Korea over its ballistic missile and nuclear programmes, so far to little avail.

North Korea insisted the mission was not a banned intercontinental missile test but was designed to place a scientific satellite in orbit, and said it had achieved all its objectives.

North Korea clarifies

"The satellite has entered the orbit as planned," Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency said in a statement repeated later in a triumphant special broadcast on state television.

Baek Seung-Joo of South Korea's Institute of Defense Analyses said the launch proved the North's determination "to complete a comprehensive nuclear weapons system" under new leader Kim Jong-Un. "Apparently North Korea is trying to convince its people that the country remains unshakable under the new leadership and will never collapse," he said. Kim Jong-Un was believed to be keen that the launch fall close to the first anniversary of the death of his father and former leader Kim Jong-Il on December 17. North Korea hailed its successful long-range rocket launch Wednesday as a "ground-breaking" event that paid tribute to former leader Kim Jong-Il a year after his death.AFP


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