North Korea has launched a long-range rocket, angering its neighbours and Washington. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting following the launch, which Pyongyang claimed was to put a satellite in orbit.
The Council, in a statement, strongly condemned the launch. South Korea, Japan and the United States have all voiced their concern, just weeks after North Korea allegedly tested a nuclear bomb.
UN Security Council “strongly condemns” North Korean rocket launch https://t.co/IDTPTg1LFO
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) February 7, 2016
North Korean state controlled media said the launch was a “fascinating vapour…trailing in the clear and blue sky in spring of February on the threshold of the Day of the Shining Star”.
The announcement continued to say the launch was part of the country’s peaceful space programme, and more satellite launches are to come.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) February 7, 2016
South Korea and the US have announced they are exploring the idea of deploying an advanced missile defence system in South Korea “at the earliest possible date.” China and Russia both oppose the idea.
Venezuela’s UN envoy Rafael Ramirez, currently the UN Security Council President said: “We have consensus to condemn this kind of violation of sanctions.”
Sunday’s launch and the nuclear test last month both violate previous UN sanctions.
South Korean MPs were told on Sunday by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) that the launch should be looked at as a ballistic missile test, as the satellite allegedly launched would be useless.
North Korea’s last long range rocket launch was in 2012, but the communications satellite it allegedly launched has never returned a signal.
The South Korean NIS also said that North Korea has the technology available for intercontinental ballistic missiles, and is preparing a fifth nuclear test, according to the news agency Yonhap.
The launch has sparked varying responses from world powers. South Korea and the US said that if the missile defence system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) was deployed, it would be solely aimed at North Korea.
General Curtis M. Scaparotti, American Forces Korea commander, said: “North Korea continues to develop their nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, and it is the responsibility of our Alliance to maintain a strong defence against those threats.”
South Korea has previously been reluctant to publicly discuss the deployment of such a system. China is opposed to the deployment of a missile defence system as it has “deep concern” the radar could infringe its territory.
Separately, in the United States, during a Republican Presidential debate in New Hampshire, ahead of that state’s primary Tuesday, the candidates were asked for their reaction to the launch.
Jeb Bush, the brother of former American President George W. Bush, said: “If a pre-emptive strike is necessary to keep us safe, then we should do it.”
Donald Trump, who is currently leading polls in New Hampshire preferred a diplomatic solution. “I would get on with China,” Trump said. “Let China solve the problem.”
The UN Security Council passed sanctions banning North Korea from carrying out any nuclear or ballistic missile tests. The US currently has around 28,500 soldiers based in South Korea.