North Korea launches long-range rocket seen as missile test

BY    | Updated: Feb 7, 2016 at 4:36 PM
A Japanese Self-Defence Force's soldier walks between the unit of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles at Defense Ministry in Tokyo February 7, 2016. North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Sunday carrying what it has said is a satellite, South Korea's defense ministry said, in defiance of United Nations sanctions. Toru Hanai/Reuters

A Japanese Self-Defence Force’s soldier walks between the unit of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles at Defense Ministry in Tokyo February 7, 2016. Photo by Toru Hanai/Reuters

The United Nations Security Council on Sunday strongly condemned North Korea less than a day after members say the country may have been testing a long-range ballistic missile in violation of international sanctions.

North Korea state media reported the launch placed a satellite into orbit as part of the country’s space program and was not a military operation, though UN council members said the claim was likely a cover to subvert a UN ban on North Korea’s use of ballistic missile technology.

North Korea conducted the test despite repeated warnings from the international community.

On Sunday, after an swiftly arranged emergency UN council meeting in New York, US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the international consortium would impose “serious consequences,”  including additional sanctions against North Korea.

On Saturday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye called the launch an “intolerable provocation,” the AP reported.

A flying object soars into the air above North Korean territory as seen from the Chinese border city of Dandong, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 7, 2016. North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Sunday carrying what it has said is a satellite, South Korea's defense ministry said, in defiance of United Nations sanctions barring it from using ballistic missile technology. Kyodo/Reuters

A flying object soars into the air above North Korean territory as seen from the Chinese border city of Dandong, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 7, 2016. Photo by Kyodo/ReutersSouth Korean President Park Geun-hye called the launch an “intolerable provocation,” the AP reported.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also condemned the missile launch as a “flagrant violation of UN Security County Resolutions,” calling the move the “most recent destabilizing and unacceptable challenge to our common peace and security.”

“This is the second time in just over a month that the D.P.R.K. has chosen to conduct a major provocation, threatening not only the security of the Korean peninsula, but that of the region and the United States as well,” Kerry said in a statement. “We reaffirm our ironclad commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan.”

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