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North Korea 'has launched rocket'

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Rachel Conway
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« on: April 04, 2009, 11:03:08 pm »

North Korea 'has launched rocket' 




The launch pad on the north-east coast has been picked up on satellite images
North Korea has launched a rocket, despite international appeals not to go ahead.

The rocket blasted off from the Musudan-ri launch site in the northeast of the country at 0230 GMT. It passed over Japan to the Pacific, Tokyo said.

North Korea says it is sending a satellite into orbit, but its neighbours suspect the launch is a cover for a long-range missile test.

Japan, South Korea and the US condemned the launch as a provocative act.

America would take "appropriate steps to let North Korea know that it cannot threaten the safety and security of other countries with impunity", a US state department spokesman said.

Japan says it is seeking an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

No intercept

The rocket blasted off just before midday North Korean time, within a pre-announced launch window.

It flew over Japan towards the Pacific, with two booster stages dropping into the ocean to the east and west of Japan.

Japan said it did not try to intercept the rocket, as it had indicated it would if its territory was threatened.

North Korea says that the launch is part of what it calls peaceful space development.

An unidentified South Korean official told Yonhap news agency that the rocket did appear to be carrying a satellite. It is not clear whether a satellite was successfully put into space.

But Pyongyang's neighbours believe the real aim of the launch was to test long-range missile technology for the Taepodong-2 weapon.

They say the launch violates United Nations resolutions.

 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7982874.stm
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