North Korea launched a rocket in defiance of a United Nations resolution, prompting condemnation from the U.S., Japan and South Korea. The UN Security Council will meet later today.
President Barack Obama said the firing of the Taepodong 2 missile was “provocative” and “clear violation” of a Security Council resolution. The rocket failed to put its payload, which North Korea stated was a communications satellite, into orbit, the White House said.
The launch represents an early test for Obama’s young presidency and may complicate efforts to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to return to six-nation talks aimed at eliminating his nation’s nuclear weapons program. The U.S., Japan and South Korea have accused the reclusive country of developing long- range missile technology to carry a nuclear device.
“They are first of all trying to get the attention of the Obama administration, which has not said much about its North Korea policy,” said Bruce Cumings, author of “ North Korea : Another Country,” and a history professor at the University of Chicago. “They hope to show the prowess of their medium-range missiles to various buyers around the world.”
While North Korea said it successfully launched the Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said it did not.