The last time the North Koreans tried to test launch a Taedong-2 missile, it failed miserably.
It appears that they’ve learned a few things:
TOKYO, April 5 — North Korea launched a long-range missile Sunday morning, defying repeated international warnings, worrying its neighbors and setting up the prospect of increased sanctions.
The launch, from a base on the country’s northeast coast, came shortly after 10:30 p.m. Saturday EDT, the U.S. State Department reported.
The three-stage rocket flew over Japan, with its first two booster stages falling harmlessly into the Sea of Japan — also known as the East Sea — and Pacific Ocean, respectively.
North Korea said the “peaceful” launch would put a communications satellite into orbit, and South Korean officials confirmed that the rocket was carrying a satellite. But President Obama called it a “provocative act” with which North Korea has “further isolated itself from the community of nations.”
The apparently successful launch of the Taepodong-2 missile, which can fly as far as the western United States, came on its second test. The first, in 2006, failed after less than a minute. Experts said North Korea has been working on long-range missile development with Iran, which successfully launched a similar missile in February.
The world’s reaction was, not surprisingly, pretty muted:
Japan’s top government spokesman said the launch was “extremely regrettable.” Takeo Kawamura added, “Even if it is a satellite launch, it is a breach of U.N. resolutions.”
Obama echoed that point, calling it “a clear violation” of a resolution barring North Korea from any activities related to ballistic missiles.
South Korea, which had repeatedly asked the North not to launch the missile, reacted more in sadness than in anger.
“We cannot help but feel shame and be disappointed at North Korea’s reckless behavior,” said Lee Dong-kwan, a government spokesman.
“We are greatly disappointed that North Korea was willing to spend tremendous amounts of money in launching the rocket in spite of the food shortages they face,” added Yu Myung-hwan, South Korea’s minister of foreign affairs and trade. North Korea’s struggling economy and chronic need for food aid have also complicated relations on the Korean Peninsula.
At the United Nations, the Security Council announced that it would convene Sunday afternoon to discuss the launch.
Yea, I bet that will have them shaking in their boots in Pyongyang.