UN 'deplores' North Korea botched rocket launch


Giant statues of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung were unveiled despite the rocket failure

The UN Security Council has deplored the launch by North Korea of a rocket which broke up shortly after take-off.

A statement issued after closed-door talks said the launch was in breach of two Security Council resolutions.

Consultations on an appropriate response would continue, "given the urgency of the matter", it continued.

In an unusual step, the North admitted the launch of the satellite had failed, and went ahead with planned celebrations in Pyongyang.

The UN statement, read by the current Security Council chair, US ambassador Susan Rice, said the launch broke UNSC resolutions 1718 and 1874.

They imposed tough sanctions against North Korea following earlier rocket launches in 2006 an 2009.

Ms Rice would not say what sort of response they were considering. But she added: "We think a credible reaction is important."

The failure of this launch is embarrassing for the North Korean regime. It had been billed as a sign of the North's technical achievement.

But the news that it had failed was only given at midday local time. For four hours after the launch, there was no word at all. The international journalists assembled in the press centre were told nothing. Then state media said rocket scientists and technicians were looking into why it failed to reach orbit.

In previous days, we had been taken to see the launch pad on the West Sea site. North Korea wanted to insist this was just a satellite launch and not a test of missile technology as others had feared. It wanted to show us its mastery of technology.

The failure is a serious blow to the prestige of Kim Jong-un. It was hoped showcasing the North's technological achievements would reinforce the young man's right to the mantle of power.

The fear is he may now respond with a new show of strength, perhaps by testing a nuclear device.

But Aidan Foster-Carter, Korea analyst at Leeds University, said he found the prospect of more international action "a bit dreary".

Food aid cancelled

"I wish we could find a way not to paint North Korea further into the corner they're busy painting themselves into," he told the BBC. "We need to engage with them and draw them out but they have again made that harder."

Earlier, Washington accused the communist state of threatening regional security. It said North Korea had isolated itself still further from the outside world.

The US has also cancelled a proposed food aid deal with Pyongyang.

A US National Security Council spokesman said they would look at additional sanctions if Pyongyang continued its "provocations".

In February, North Korea agreed to a partial freeze in nuclear activities and a missile test moratorium in return for US food aid.

Washington suspended the deal when the missile launch was announced last month.

'Provocative acts'

The official reason for the launch had been to put a satellite into orbit in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the state's founder, Kim Il-sung.

Susan Rice, UN: "Members of the security council deplored this launch"

Kim Jong-un, his grandson, led tens of thousands of people in lavish celebrations in central Pyongyang at which giant statues were unveiled to both his grandfather and his late father, Kim Jong-il.

Many outside the country saw the launch as an illegal test of long-range missile technology.

North Korea fired the Unha-3 rocket around 07:40 local time (22:40 GMT Thursday) from a site in Cholsan County on the western coast, according to South Korean and US monitors.

It disintegrated after a minute or two, falling into waters 165km (105 miles) west of the South Korean capital, Seoul, the monitors said.

"North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts, and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan accused the North of a "clear breach of the UN resolution that prohibits any launch using ballistic missile technology".

China and Russia, North Korea's closest allies, called for a resumption of the stalled multi-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme.

'With our lives'

Confirming the rocket failure, North Korea's state news agency KCNA said briefly: "The Earth observation satellite failed to enter its pre-set orbit.

Start Quote

Pyongyang's technocrats and doves may finally seize their chance and see off the militarists”

End Quote

"Scientists, technicians and experts are now looking into the cause of the failure."

In Pyongyang, events to cement Kim Jong-un's assumption of power after the death of his father in December continued on Friday with a special session of the supreme people's assembly (parliament).

The assembly appointed Mr Kim, 29, as "first chairman" of the country's top decision-making body, the National Defence Commission.

At the same time, his late father was made the commission's "eternal chairman".

Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Museum of Revolutionary Struggle on Mansu Hill to see the statues being unveiled.

"All party members and troops should hold the respected comrade Kim Jong-un in high esteem... and protect him with our lives under any circumstances," North Korea's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, told the crowd.

The monuments to the former leaders replace a single statue of Kim Il-sung which previously occupied the site.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    Why does the link to this page say "Allies condemn North Korean Launch"? We still in WWII or something?

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    i could top that: try traversing a zebra-crossing nowadys, no exaggertion. No wai', speak to any neighbour, whahhhhhh

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    This is such a sad and pathetic spectacle. I've been to this region many times, and witnessing this desperate last ditch 'People's' regime's attempts to proclaim the success of its revolution would be amusing, if it wasn't for its desperate citizens daily paying the price for such ideological absurdity. I'd recommend the SWP and even a good many mainstream Labour supporters to visit, and learn ..

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    190"The UN Security Council has deplored N Korea.
    Well i bet they are all shaking in their boots now."

    They ought to be.The US government considers it the most dangerous place on earth. Were the President of the United States to give the order, that entire country would be gone in ten minutes. There'd be no warning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    It is possible to recognise that NK are a brutal regime, but still see the hypocrisy of the west. What any sovereign nation decides to do is no business of any other country, unless they or their interests are threatened by those actions. NK are realistically only a threat to themselves, and South Korea. Other countries should sort out their own problems before interfering elsewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    The UN Security Council has deplored N Korea.
    Well i bet they are all shaking in their boots now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    LUFC_FR has it right in sayin that China was excluded from the ISS-program. So are 99 b%alloonies of any brilliant, witty, fresh, you-name-it ideas from poppin up on the scales of fantasy. Hitparade, beercoaster throwing, tsotsa-tsola, singing along... Cheerioké.

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    If only the counrty had massive oil reserves.......B

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    As I already stated, tenor of the discussion will change only after the lasty Commies and their aficionados promulgating anti-US hatred finally die out.

    Or are forced by Tehran ayatollahs to live in a Sharia-ruled caliphate with no access to Internet.

    Just like wretched North Koreans wo are unable to comment here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    given a leader who is all-powerful and all-knowing, why would N Korea need a weather satellite?

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    37. It's not as if the region isn't well-covered by many other nations on earth that freely share the data.

    [citation needed]

    I would be grateful if you would post an URL for the freely shared satellite data that obviates domestic space research. Were you suggesting Google Maps?

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    If you had quoted me entirely, instead of like a tabloid newspaper, then you would have said United States.

    Only that nation has sought dominance in space, hence it's black space programme (do some research coz the msm won't mention it)

    Ask yourself why China was blocked by the US from being on the ISS...

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    aproprost: the USSR got it all first sorted, scilicet Sputnik, Laica, a man, thaen a woman and what one cannot stress out enough are first coupling-manoeuvrer and space-station. They never knew what do to on da moon. Chasing cows there? wild beasts that is. Ow hearo mios of mine, ghehe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    Can we have links to these North Korea stories of their brutal and illegal labour camps which are growing in numbers? Those who know little and want to learn momore about North Korea should read these...



  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    #174 JoB " launching rockets eastbound saves a LOT of fuel"

    Agreed. An easterly launch gets a big boost from the Earth's rotation. For a country on its third launch this would be preferable.

    Unfortunately an easterly launch over Japan would probably be shot down. Remember how upset the Japanese were last time North Korea were, last time North Korea lobbed a missile over them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    To those who "praise" NK, why don't you pack your bags and see how far you last there. Just don't come begging for help.

    Judging by their IPs none of anti-Us crowd has moved yet to China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Vietnam, Yemen...

    Perhaps Internet connections there are too slow?

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    77. LUFC_FR
    Can someone remind me which country started this thirst for space dominance in the first place?

    The USSR.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Can anyone seriously take them as a threat, when their mission control room looks like something from a 1960's science fiction film? They cant even lauch a rocket for goodness sake nevermind arm one and more importantly it would be pointless for them to attack anyone because they have absolutely nothing to gain from it. This has turned into a complete joke and itd be hilarious if it werent so sad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    Can someone remind me which country started this thirst for space dominance in the first place?
    Planting imaginary flags all over the moon etc?

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    Does anybody know why them North-Koreans all paddle on a wire-mule? imagine someone found out that there was oil under the kiosk around the corner. Ah-ya, and celulitis isn't to be cured by any doctor of beyond presciption. Ey, policemen of the world? there are ca seven terrorists on the run or billions. Sting and his boyband have put the teflon on sue'-yourself. Twitter-me-pengwing


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