North Korea Launches Rocket

North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Wednesday morning that appeared to reach as far as the Philippines, an apparent success for the country’s young and untested new leader, Kim Jong-un, and a step toward the country’s goal of mastering the technology needed to deliver a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Both South Korean and Japanese officials said the initial indications were that the first and second stages of the Galaxy-3 rocket, called the Unha-3 by the North, fell into the sea along a route the country had previously announced. But the timing of the launch appeared to take American officials by surprise. Just an hour or two before blastoff from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri on North Korea’s western coast, near China, American officials at a holiday reception at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Washington said they thought the North Koreans had run into technical problems that could take them weeks to resolve.For President Obama, the launching deepened the complexity of dealing with the new North Korean government, after four years in which promises of engagement, then threats of deeper sanctions, have done nothing to modify the country’s behavior.

Read the rest of the story: North Korea Launches Rocket, Defying Likely Sanctions.

PAC-3s Okinawa-bound before North Korean launch

he Maritime Self-Defense Force transport ship Kunisaki left Monday morning from the MSDF base in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, carrying missile interceptors to be deployed in Okinawa for North Korea’s stated plan to launch a satellite.

The ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors are to be deployed at several locations in Okinawa. The Kunisaki and another MSDF transport, the Osumi, are to arrive at Okinawa in a few days.

North Korea announced Saturday that it plans to launch an “Earth observation satellite” between Dec. 10 and 22, following an unsuccessful attempt to launch a long-range rocket in April.

The first stage has been placed in position at the North’s Sohae launch station, a South Korean government source told Yonhap news agency.

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North Korean Rocket A Dud – Fails moments after launch

North Korea defied international warnings of censure and further isolation on Friday, launching a rocket that the United States and its allies called a provocative pretext for developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that might one day carry a nuclear warhead.

But in what was a major embarrassment to the North and its young new leader, the rocket disintegrated moments after the launching, and American and Japanese officials said its remnants fell harmlessly into the sea.

After hours of silence, North Korea’s state-run news media announced that the satellite the rocket had been carrying “failed to enter its preset orbit.” Scientists and technicians were “looking into the cause of the failure,” said the terse statement from the reclusive North Korea leadership, which had trumpeted the event as a showcase of patriotic pride meant to exalt the 100th anniversary of the birthday of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung, grandfather of the new leader, Kim Jung-un. Only two days earlier, North Korea had elevated the grandson to the highest levels of state power.

Read the rest of the story: North Korean Rocket Said to Fail Moments After Liftoff.

North Korea fueling rocket, says Japanese report

North Korea has reportedly begun fueling a rocket for a launch next month, defying calls to abort an event the West says is a disguised missile test, as the US suspended planned food aid.

“The launch is coming closer. The possibility is high that the launch date will be set for April 12 or 13,” Japan’s Tokyo Shimbun reported yesterday, quoting a source “close to the government” in Pyongyang.

It cited the source as saying that North Korea had begun injecting liquid fuel into the rocket.

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Japan May Deploy Missiles Ahead Of North Koreas Planned Rocket Launch

Japan may deploy land-based and sea-based interceptor missiles ahead of North Koreas planned rocket launch next month and has not ruled out shooting down the rocket if it violates Japanese airspace, according to defense officials and media reports.

Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said Wednesday that Japan is considering how to respond to any contingencies caused by the launch, including mobilizing destroyers and deploying mobile missile launchers to areas near the rockets planned trajectory.

North Korea has said it plans to launch a satellite into orbit. Japan, the United States and other countries claim it is also seeking to test the capabilities of its long-range missiles, in violation of international agreements.

Read the rest of the story: Japan May Deploy Missiles Ahead Of North Koreas Planned Rocket Launch.

North Korea Launches Missile Over Japan


North Korea launched a rocket on Sunday. “A rocket appears to have been launched from North Korea,” Prime Minister Aso’s office said in a statement.

By firing a rocket, which landed in the Pacific Ocean, the North Koreans appear to be edging toward the capability to shoot a nuclear warhead on a longer-range missile. The North Koren satellite launch is said to be a disguised missile test.

North Korea had said it was sending a satellite into space and gave international agencies notice of a planned trajectory that would take the rocket over Japan, dropping booster stages to the east and west.

The United States, South Korea and Japan have said they would see the launch as a test of the North’s long-range Taepodong-2 missile capabilities, which is designed to fly as far as Alaska. Washington has said there would be consequences if Pyongyang went ahead with the launch.

US President Obama said North Korea has broken global rules and has called on the U.N. Security Council to act.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said the first part of the rocket is estimated to have fallen in the Sea of Japan, about 280 km west of Akita Prefecture, at 11:37 a.m.

The second stage flew over the northeastern prefectures of Akita and Iwate and is estimated to have fallen into the Pacific, more than 2,100 km east of Japan.

Police said there have been no reports of damage in the northern Japan region.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces did not try to intercept the North Korean rocket Sunday following its launch, the Japanese ministry said, adding it finished tracking the second stage about 2,100 km east of Japan over the Pacific.


Obama Urges Nuclear Arms Reduction (April 5, 2009)

Memo from Seoul: North Korea Perfects Its Diplomatic Game: Brinkmanship (April 3, 2009)

Obama’s Statement on North Korea Rocket Launching (April 5, 2009)

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