North Korea fires rocket into space North Korea has defied international warnings and launched a long-range rocket carrying what it has said is a satellite.
The rocket took off at around 9am Pyongyang time from the North’s west coast, according to South Korea’s defence ministry.
In a state TV broadcast, a female North Korean announcer, wearing a traditional dress, said the “epochal” launch, personally ordered by leader Kim Jong-Un, had “successfully put our Earth observation satellite … into orbit”.
Japan’s NHK broadcaster reported that debris from the rocket was believed to have fallen about 155 miles (250km) off the southwest coast of the Korean Peninsula into the East China Sea about 14 minutes after the launch.
North Korea launched a long-range missile on Feb. 7, 2016, an action that was condemned by many countries including the U.S. and Japan. While the nation claimed that it was done to put a satellite into orbit, other countries viewed the launch as a potential ballistic missile test.
Earlier in January, North Korea released a statement announcing it had successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test. In light of these developments, we take a look at the nation’s military by numbers.
All military figures quoted have been sourced from The Military Balance 2015, published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the country’s actions were “a threat to regional and international security”.
Mr Kerry said it was the second time in just over a month that North Korea has chosen to conduct “a major provocation, threatening not only the security of the Korean Peninsula, but that of the region and the United States as well”.
Even the isolated state’s sole major ally China expressed “regret”.
Russia too, considered an ally of North Korea, slammed the launch, saying Pyongyang had once again demonstrated a disregard for norms of international law.
“We strongly recommend the leadership of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea think about whether a policy of opposing the entire international community meets the interests of the country,” it said in a statement.
North Korean men carrying the ruling Workers’ Party flag, march during a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea on Oct. 10, 2015.
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye urged the UN to “take strong punitive measures quickly”.
The US, Japan, France and South Korea have requested an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss the North’s actions and whether to push for more tough sanctions.
But journalist Alex Jensen, in the South Korean capital Seoul, told Sky News that North Korea was already one of the most sanctioned countries in the world.
He said: “At the UN Security Council, China – North Korea’s ally – has veto-wielding power, but even if China were again to adopt sanctions on North Korea many observers say that officials in Beijing would turn a blind eye and let these sanctions be averted … there is no sign Beijing would be willing to cut off Pyongyang.”
Mr Kim has overseen two of the North’s four nuclear tests and three long-range rocket tests since taking over after the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il, in late 2011.
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