North Korea launches rocket defying sanctions

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 12, 2012 21:52 hrs

North Korea on Wednesday said it launched a long-range rocket to successfully deploy a satellite into orbit, defying critics who accuse it of trying to develop technology to deliver a nuclear warhead on intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The rocket was launched just before 10 am Korea time (01:00 GMT), according to defence officials in South Korea and Japan.

"The launch of the second version of our Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite from the Sohae Space Centre... on December 12 was successful. The satellite has entered the orbit as planned," the official Korean Central News Agency said.

North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) officials in the US also confirmed the launch and that "an object" had achieved orbit following it.

The launch was followed by a wave of international condemnation and the call for a meeting of the UN Security Council Wednesday to discuss Pyongyang's defiance of threats of sanctions.

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