World Reacts to Failed North Korea Rocket Launch

Effigy of North Korea's Kim Jong Un on burning mock missile at Seoul protest, South Korea, April 13, 2012.
Effigy of North Korea's Kim Jong Un on burning mock missile at Seoul protest, South Korea, April 13, 2012.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and many other international leaders have condemned North Korea's launch of a long-range missile, even though the test was a failure.  The rocket fell into the sea about one minute after liftoff.

North Korea's official news agency acknowledged the missile broke apart, preventing its cargo - described as a weather satellite - from reaching Earth orbit.  

Pyongyang defied international protests by going ahead with the launch despite the widespread belief that the operation actually was a test of a long-range ballistic missile that could carry warheads just as easily as satellites.  The three-stage rocket malfunctioned after the first stage exhausted its fuel and fell away, and the assembly plunged into the Yellow Sea without hitting land or striking any of the many vessels observing the test from international waters.

Ban said North Korea's actions were "deplorable," going against the "firm and unanimous stance of the international community." He also said such a test of a missile with possible military applications was a violation of U.N. resolutions.

In Washington, White House press secretary Jay Carney said North Korea's action was a threat to regional security, and a sign that Pyongyang prefers "wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry."

The U.S. has canceled plans to send additional food aid to North Korea, and considers that sanctions could be tightened even more if Pyongyang conducts "further provocative actions."

Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said the rocket appeared to have reached a height of 120 kilometers above the sea before it split apart.

"We have received information that there was some sort of object launched," said Tanaka. "It appears to have flown for over a minute and then fallen into the ocean. There has been absolutely no effect on our territory.''

South Korean naval vessels as well as U.S., Russian and Chinese ships are in the launch zone searching for rocket debris.

Many members of the international community spoke out against North Korea's operation, which apparently was timed to coincide with the birth centenary of the communist state's founder, Kim Il Sung.  The European Union, the Group of Eight industrialized nations, Russia, Germany and Britain agreed the rocket launch should not have taken place.  And North Korea's neighboring states South Korea, China and Japan all condemned the action.

The U.N. Security Council was meeting Friday to discuss the issue.

While the world reacted to the failed launch, North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un presided over a rally celebrating the lives of North Korea's two previous leaders: his father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung. During the festivities in central Pyongyang he unveiled statues of both men and assumed new titles that complete the transfer of state, military, and party power from his dictator father to himself.

Military forces in South Korea and Japan remain on high alert for what they say could be more provocative actions by North Korea during the month of celebrations honoring Kim Il Sung.

U.S. officials have said Pyongyang might have been planning to follow the launch with what would be its third underground test of a nuclear warhead.  Satellite intelligence photographs made available to VOA and other news organizations this week show evidence of preparations for such a test.

North Korea's launch plan also has derailed a recent agreement with the U.S. under which Pyongyang agreed to suspend all of its nuclear-weapons and missile programs, in return for 240,000 tons of badly needed food aid.

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Comment Sorting
by: Cả Thộn
April 14, 2012 6:40 PM
Both China and Vietnam are no longer true communist countries. Their ideology has changed into nationalism, these former communists are now fighting against each other for land,sea,islands to steal sea food and natural resources under sea bed. They hold on to hammer and sickle flag because they want their own people to be frifhtened and heed their orders. China and Vietnam now are actually dictatorship regimes in deed. Both of them are police states as the matter of fact.

by: Jonathan Huang
April 14, 2012 4:14 PM
@ ca thon, whats wrong with communism? NK is still better than Iraq and Afghanistan NKoreans dont need to worry human bombs possibly coming out from anywhere; China is much better than India where you can see die bodies in rivers, even Vietnam is much better than Mexico where drug dealers killing people in the open city streets. Communist countries got problems cuz west blockages of technologies and trading. China will show you a successful communism!

by: Cả Thộn
April 13, 2012 6:00 PM
Uncle Sam has good foreign policy then should stick to it. Why don't you guys here suggest the other side to change course, explore some thing new for their own good. Dictatorship is not that good to keep for long. Communist is not good either and need to be destroyed like it was Soviet Union and all Eastern European countries.

by: China Watcher
April 13, 2012 11:17 AM
Jacques raises the basic issue: how can we expect different results when we insist on continuing the same behavior hat has produced a 60-year stalemate? To move in a different direction, one side or the other has to dare to take the first step. The North needs food and energy. It has resources with which to pay for what it needs. Lets start dealing with it like a "normal country" and see if that produces different results.

by: NVO
April 13, 2012 8:25 AM
The UN is a SHAM. Bon-Key-Monkey will never achieve peace, and the UN is pushing for a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT under THE NEW WORLD ORDER. Hillary Clinton is in the drivers seat.

by: NVO
April 13, 2012 8:08 AM
SHAM of a tyranical regime. SHAM!!

by: Jacques
April 13, 2012 7:20 AM
Could be wrong but was it not a UN resolution that legitimized the war with North Korea some sixty years ago. If true all this UN activity maybe counter-productive, to the North it's the same old Western tactic, form an international coalition and impose sanctions. But then again how do you move away from an entrenched policy?

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