- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 4, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department says that North Korea has launched a rocket, following through on its promise of a launch despite international criticism.

State Department spokesman Fred Lash confirmed the event, saying it occurred at 10:30 p.m. EDT Saturday.

“We look on this as a provocative act,” said Lash.

North Korea had informed international authorities that it planned to launch a rocket sometime between Saturday and Wednesday in order to put a satellite into orbit.

But the U.S., South Korea, Japan and others suspect it is a cover for testing a long-range missile for the North, which has nuclear weapons. Leaders from those countries had warned Pyongyang not to proceed with the planned rocket launch.

They fear such a test could be a first step toward putting a nuclear warhead on a missile capable of reaching Alaska and beyond.

The launch “will prompt the United States to take appropriate steps to let North Korea know that it cannot threaten the safety and security of other countries with impunity,” Lash said.

“North’s Korea’s development, deployment and proliferation of missiles, ballistic missile-related materials, equipment and technologies pose a serious threat to the northeast Asia region and to the international community,” Lash said.

Lash added that the North Korean action violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718. The council adopted the 2006 resolution five days after North Korea conducted a test of a nuclear weapon.

The resolution also demanded that North Korea not conduct any further nuclear tests or launch of a ballistic missile.

Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the launch would raise tensions unnecessarily.

“It is alarming that North Korea carried out this missile launch in direct defiance of the international community,” said the California Democrat. “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.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide