North Korea Launches Rocket in Defiance of Critics
Isolated and impoverished North Korea launched its second long- range rocket of 2012 on Wednesday and may have finally succeeded in putting a satellite into space, the stated aim of what critics say is a disguised ballistic missile test.
The rocket was launched just before 10 a.m. Korean time (0100 GMT) and overflew the Japanese island of Okinawa.
A rocket launch by North Korea in April was aborted after less than two minutes flight. Wednesday’s launch came after the North carried out repairs on the rocket, which South Korean officials said had been removed from its gantry on Monday.
Both South Korea and Japan called meetings of their top security councils after the launch and Japan said it could not tolerate the action. Japanese television station NHK said the second stage of the rocket had crashed into seas off the Philippines as planned.
It was not immediately clear if the third stage carrying the satellite had made it into space.