North Korea launched a ballistic missile, which reportedly placed a satellite into orbit. The Dec. 12 launch contravened United Nations resolutions forbidding Pyongyang to develop ballistic rocket capacity, angering its neighbors but marking a chance for new leader Kim Jong-Un to claim a victory.
It is the third time that North Korea has found itself at the center of a missile controversy—Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, presided over flawed missile launches in 2006 and 2009.
This broadcast by North Korean state television announced the launch to the country just after noon local time. It was clipped by Martyn Williams, a journalist who covers North Korea closely. He also passes along the KCNA’s news bulletin:
The second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 successfully lifted off from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province by carrier rocket Unha-3 on Wednesday.
The satellite entered its preset orbit. — KCNA, December 12, 2012.
The United Kingdom and Japan have condemned the launch, and when morning arrived on the east coast of the United States, further censure was expected from Washington and the United Nations. Whether any action would be taken by the world’s powers remained to be seen, and depended on how much China, North Korea’s closest ally, decided to insulate it from international pressure.
Washington did not anticipate North Korea acting today. Obama Administration officials have suggested in the past that, given the opportunity in the UN, they would implement “Iran style” sanctions on North Korea.
Update: Reuters reports the White House’s first response to the launch: