News / Asia

US Wants 'Consequences' For North Korean Rocket Launch

Scientists and technicians at the General Satellite Control and Command Center on the outskirts of Pyongyang watch the launch of the Unha-3 rocket from a launch site on the west coast, in the village of Tongchang-ri, North Korea, December 12, 2012.
Scientists and technicians at the General Satellite Control and Command Center on the outskirts of Pyongyang watch the launch of the Unha-3 rocket from a launch site on the west coast, in the village of Tongchang-ri, North Korea, December 12, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
The United States says it wants "consequences" for North Korea's rocket launch, and that it will seek international action in the coming days.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council condemned the launch, calling it a clear violation of U.N. resolutions that ban Pyongyang from carrying out missile or nuclear-related tests.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said the initial statement out of the Council was one the swiftest and strongest that the 15-member body has issued.  She said the United States will be working with the international community toward an appropriate action on North Korea.  She said Washington will look for a clear set of objectives that include consequences.   

Rice also said Pyongyang's actions "more than call into question" North Korea's commitment to return to six-nation talks on its nuclear program.

North Korea announced Wednesday that it launched a long-range rocket, which it says put a weather satellite into orbit.  North Korean state media called the launch a "groundbreaking" mission that met the "last instructions" of Pyongyang's late leader, Kim Jong Il.

"The second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 successfully lifted off from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province by carrier rocket Unha-3 on December 12.  The satellite entered its present orbit," the state media said.

Rice said that no matter how the North Koreans choose to describe the launch it violates two Council resolutions and shows that the country ``is determined to pursue its ballistic missile program without regard for its international obligations.''

She spoke to reporters after the U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting on the launch.  

A successful rocket launch by the communist country would represent a major step forward in its quest to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or Norad said Wednesday North Korea has "deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit."  Other analysts made the same assessment.

The timing of the launch surprised many observers and Western diplomats, given that reports Tuesday suggested North Korea was disassembling the rocket because of technical difficulties.

David Fouse, an analyst with the Hawaii-based Asia-Pacific Center for Strategic Studies, tells VOA the notoriously reclusive leadership in Pyongyang may have intentionally misled the international community.

"I'm not sure whether there was an intelligence failure or if the North Koreans were just kind of playing games with the international community. They might have wanted to catch people off-guard and I think they did surprise a lot of people with the timing of this launch," Fouse said.

North Korea said Monday a "technical deficiency in the first stage control engine module of the rocket" could delay the launch by a week.

In April, North Korea's three-stage, liquid-fueled Unha-3 rocket exploded just minutes after liftoff.  Previous attempts to fire long-range rockets in 2006 and 2009 also ended in failure, even though North Korean officials insisted that they succeeded.

The U.N. Security Council condemned the failed April launch and ordered foreign assets seized from several North Korean companies linked to financing and procuring weapons and missile technology.

Weeks after that launch, the United States responded by canceling a deal that would have provided the impoverished North with 240,000 metric tons of food.

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by: Fred from: Sheldon Ct
December 12, 2012 10:27 PM

I do not understand why US make so much fuss about North Korea
yet Russia, India, China, and Iran the arch enemy of israel all have Missiles.
North Korea mind his own business, never intent to attack and country.


by: Robert W. Niles from: No. babylon NY.
December 12, 2012 5:40 PM
This is the most inefficient group ever assembled exactely what the world does not need, resolve problems not make them all they do is rip off money from the united states and distribute it to countries that hate us for what purpose I do not know we pay the most money out of all the countries in the world and have to provide all the security a Joke!!!!!

In Response

by: nick corey from: USA
December 13, 2012 1:13 AM
"exactely", you so smart.

In Response

by: Arizona Mildman from: Phoenix, AZ
December 13, 2012 12:38 AM
The North Koreans are as much of a threat as Russia was during the cold war. This mentality that we must regulate all technology by North Korea because a rocket could carry a nuclear warhead is ludicrous. The Soviets proved that they could make a nuclear bomb that fit in a suitcase, what are we going to do, regulate their luggage? The fact that they used the previous rocket to launch a satelite shows to me that they aren't any more dangerous than we are when it comes to space technology. They are just learning that there can be problems.

Does anyone remember the Apollo flights or the space shuttle we blew up with all hands on board dying? Sometimes problems happen. Trying to paint them as dangerous instead of helping them learn is another Bush era "don't talk with them" mistake that we will regret later on. Better to be friendly with and keep a possible threat close instead of creating waves and driving a wedge that will cause us to lose our chance of having them be useful later on. When you perceive a threat, dialogue will work better than threatening every time.

In Response

by: GE Cato from: New Zealand
December 13, 2012 12:36 AM
Outlaw renegade totalitarian regimes such as North Korea could not give a rat's rear about "isolation' "condemnation" "sanctions" or any of the the other ineffectual, pathetic responses from the USA or its allies. They will understand only one language: action. As North Korea is now a nuclear "power" it should understand the consequences of that. At the next hint of a rocket launch, the US Navy should launch cruise missiles that destroy the gantry and wipe out the control centre in North Korea. That should be accompanied by a direct threat to use the neutron bomb on them if they attack South Korea or any ally. Iran will immediately get the message. Message: if you are non-nuclear no chance of being nuked. If you cross that threshold: you are at high risk. Tough? For sure. Effective in bringing peace? Absolutely.

In Response

by: Rider from: US
December 12, 2012 10:59 PM
Another underground nuke test soon would stir the pot...they've done it before.

In Response

by: rubber ducky from: chicago
December 12, 2012 10:42 PM
The U. S. wants consequences. Hmm, people in hell want ice water. I don't see either thing happening anytime soon.

In Response

by: Major Trust
December 12, 2012 10:31 PM
I agree. This will make america go back to the drawing board for korea war.

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