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Old 04-05-2009, 10:11 AM
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Default North Korea launches rocket - Does this Settlte the Trade Sports Debate?

What a blackeye this was for Trade Sports / Intrade

And its way too late now... but anyway..


SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- North Korea followed through Sunday on its publicly-stated intention to launch to a long-range rocket, defying a series of warnings from the international community and setting off a firestorm of criticism in the process.

Conservative activists in Seoul Sunday protest at the North Korean rocket launch.

1 of 4 The North Korean government characterized the act as a successful, peaceful launch of a satellite into orbit. U.S. and South Korean officials condemned the launch as a provocative act. American military sources said the launch was a failure, claiming that the rocket's payload failed to enter into orbit.

North Korea's news agency, KCNA, stated that "scientists and technicians of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) have succeeded in putting satellite Kwangmyongsong-2, an experimental communications satellite, into orbit by means of carrier rocket Unha-2 under the state long-term plan for the development of outer space." What do you think about North Korean rocket launch?

"We are happy, we are happy," said Sin Son Ho, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, in New York. "It was successful."

Officials from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the U.S. Northern Command countered that the rocket's payload cleared Japanese airspace, but later fell into the Pacific Ocean.

"Stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan. The remaining stages along with the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean," according to a statement from NORAD and the Northern Command, read by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. See details of rocket and its path »

"No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan," the statement added. "NORAD and (the Northern Command) assesses the launch vehicle as not a threat to North America or Hawaii and took no action in response to this launch."

It is unclear whether the payload of the rocket was actually a satellite. The United States and South Korea previously disputed North Korea's claims that the rocket would be used for a peaceful satellite launch. A number of countries expressed concern that the launch could, in fact, be a missile with a warhead attached.

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International reaction to reports of a rocket launch ranged from calls for an immediate U.N. Security Council meeting to calls for measured diplomacy.

U.S. President Barack Obama, in what may be the most significant international crisis since the start of his administration, was quick to condemn the action of what most observers characterize as a rogue regime.

"Now is the time for a strong international response," Obama said in a speech before a huge crowd outside the medieval Prague Castle. "And North Korea must know that the path to security and respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons. All nations must come together to build a stronger global regime. That's why we must stand shoulder to shoulder to pressure the North Koreans to change course."

"With this provocative act, North Korea has ignored its international obligations, rejected unequivocal calls for restraint and further isolated itself from the community of nations," Obama said in a statement after the launch.

"We will immediately consult with our allies in the region, including Japan and (South Korea), and ... bring this matter before the (U.N. Security) Council," Obama said. "I urge North Korea to abide fully by the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and to refrain from further provocative actions." Read world reaction to rocket launch

The rocket -- launched at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday (2:30 a.m. GMT/10:30 p.m. ET Saturday) -- was a "provocative act in violation" of a U.N. Security Council resolution on North Korea's weapons program, Fred Lash, a State Department spokesman, told reporters.

An October 2006 resolution condemned North Korea for missile launches in the summer and a nuclear test that same month.

"We don't know anything on whether it had an orbital configuration," Lash said about whether the rocket might have carried a satellite. "There is nothing confirmed."

The Security Council scheduled a meeting for Sunday afternoon after Japan's representative to the United Nations, Yukio Takasu, sent a letter requesting an urgent meeting in response to the launch.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told reporters that his country's military was not forced to intercept any missile, which it had pledged to do if necessary. Read world reaction to rocket launch

Japan is "breathing a sigh of relief," CNN Correspondent Kyung Lah said.

Japanese ships were moving Sunday to the area they believe the rocket parts fell in an effort to retrieve them, government officials said. Watch Japan's reaction to the launch »

Still, Kawamura said his government's position is that even a communications satellite would be in violation of the Security Council resolution, saying Japan "formally denounces" the move.

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A spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he "regrets that, against strong international appeal, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) went ahead with its planned launch. Given the volatility in the region, as well as a stalemate in interaction among the concerned parties, such a launch is not conducive to efforts to promote dialogue, regional peace and stability."

Chinese and Russian officials had a softer response, calling for restraint and calm. Russian officials also appeared to differ from the U.S. military in terms of their assessment of the success of the launch.

"North Korea sent an artificial satellite into an earth orbit on the morning of April 5. The parameters of the satellite's orbit are being specified now," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in a statement on that appeared on the Ministry's official Web site.

The office of the South Korean president condemned the launch Sunday, calling it a "serious threat" to world peace, the state-sponsored Yonhap news agency reported.

"We cannot withhold our regrets and disappointment that North Korea has caused such a serious threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the world by firing a long-range rocket when the entire world is joining efforts to overcome the global economic crisis," Lee Dong-kwan, a presidential spokesman said, according to Yonhap.

Earlier Sunday, before the launch, South Korea's national security council called an emergency meeting amid concerns that a North Korean rocket launch was imminent, a presidential spokesperson told CNN on Sunday.

Retired Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, the former director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, told CNN that the launch apparently involved a "multi-stage rocket," with possibly up to three stages, referring to reports that debris fell off the waters of Japan. Watch questions concerning the rocket's payload »

"That means it was able to go through the staging event," signaling success in the rocket reaching long-range capability.

The Obama administration's special envoy to the North Korean six-party talks, Stephen Bosworth, said last week that it didn't matter if the North Koreans were trying to put a satellite in space or testing a ballistic missile that could threaten Japan or the United States.

"Whether it is a satellite launch or a missile launch, in our judgment makes no difference. It is a provocative act," Bosworth said. Watch analysis of possible motivations for the launch »

U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement late Saturday.

"It is alarming that North Korea carried out this missile launch in direct defiance of the international community," Berman said. "The test is an unnecessary provocation that raises tensions in the region, and I urge the North Koreans to stop using their missile and WMD programs to threaten their neighbors and the rest of the world."
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