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.