SEOUL: North Korea has notified neighbours including Japan of the trajectory of the rocket it plans to launch this month, a report said on Sunday, after international condemnation of the move by the nuclear-armed state.
The communist North announced on Saturday it would launch a rocket sometime between December 10 and 22 -- its second long-range rocket launch this year after a much-hyped but botched attempt in April.
Washington and Seoul urged Pyongyang to scrap the launch while Tokyo reportedly postponed talks due next week with North Korea and ordered its military to prepare to shoot down the rocket if it goes over Japan.
"The North has notified aviation authorities in nations including Japan that could come under potential danger ... of the timing and expected path (of the rocket)," Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed senior Seoul official as saying.
China and the Philippines were also likely to have been notified, it added.
The North said on Saturday the rocket would blast off "southward" from its Sohae Space Centre in the country's northwest.
"A safe flight path has been chosen so that parts of the carrier rocket that might fall during the launch process would not affect neighbouring countries," it said.
It added Pyongyang would "fully comply" with relevant international rules for the launch, which some analysts said was aimed at stirring patriotism and support for the country's young, inexperienced ruler Kim Jong-Un.
Pyongyang also repeated its claim made during its April launch that the rocket was aimed at promoting "the use of space for peaceful purposes" by placing a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite into orbit.
But the US and its allies view the launch as a disguised test for an inter-continental ballistic missile banned under UN resolutions triggered by Pyongyang's two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
Chinese Leader Hu Jintao with the late Dear Leader Kim Jong Licensed-to-Il :armed:
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Dec 12th, 2012, 04:59 AM
SEOUL: North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket on Wednesday, in defiance of UN sanctions threats over what Pyongyang's critics have condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test.
North Korea said the three-stage rocket, which Pyongyang insists was solely aimed at placing a satellite in orbit, had achieved all its objectives.
"The launch of the second version of our Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite from the Sohae Space Centre ... on December 12 was successful," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
"The satellite has entered the orbit as planned," it added.
Officials in South Korea and Japan confirmed that all three stages of the rocket appeared to have separated as scheduled.
However, South Korean defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok cautioned that further analysis was required.
"There are many factors to determine whether it was successful or not ... we need more extensive analysis. We need more consultation with the United States since our own capability is limited," Kim told reporters.
There was no immediate comment from Washington. But Japan's government said it "cannot tolerate" the "extremely regrettable" launch, and Britain "deplored" North Korea's decision to go ahead rather try to improve its people's welfare.
In Seoul, President Lee Myung-Bak called an emergency meeting of his National Security Council to discuss the implications of the launch.
The North's decision to launch the rocket in winter had led analysts to suggest a political imperative behind the timing, which may have overruled technical considerations.
New leader Kim Jong-Un was believed to be extremely keen that the launch fell around the first anniversary of the death of his father and former leader Kim Jong-Il on December 17.
A previous launch of the same Unha-3 rocket in April had ended in failure, with the carrier exploding shortly after take-off.
A successful launch this time carries profound security implications, marking a major advance in the North's ability to mate an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability with its nuclear weapons programme.
In October, North Korea had said it already possessed rockets capable of striking the US mainland -- a claim which many analysts dismissed as bluster.
According to tracking reports from the South Korean and Japanese armed forces, the rocket took off from the Sohae centre around 9:51 am (0051 GMT).
Japan, which had deployed missile defence systems to intercept and destroy the rocket if it looked set to fall on its territory, said it passed over its southern island chain of Okinawa around 12 minutes after take-off.
The first and second stages fell in the sea west and southwest of the Korean Peninsula, while the third splashed down 300 kilometres (188 miles) east of the Philippines."
North Korea had originally provided a December 10-22 launch window, but extended that by a week on Monday when a "technical deficiency" was discovered in the first-stage control engine.
Washington and its allies insist the launch is a disguised ballistic missile test that violates UN resolutions triggered by Pyongyang's two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
In 2006 the Security Council imposed an embargo against North Korea on arms and material for ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. It also banned imports of luxury goods and named individuals and companies to be subject to a global assets freeze and travel ban.
In 2009, it imposed a ban on North Korea's weapons exports and ordered all countries to search suspect shipments.
According to Japanese reports, Japan, the United States and South Korea have agreed to demand the Security Council strengthen sanctions on North Korea to levels that match those on Iran.
That would include increasing the list of financial institutions, entities and individuals subject to asset freezes.
Much will depend on the stance taken by UN veto holder China, North Korea's sole major ally and its biggest trade partner and aid provider.
Beijing had expressed "concern" about the planned launch, but in the past it has resisted tougher UN sanctions against Pyongyang demanded by other countries.
"China sets the maximum response level in the Security Council when it comes to North Korea," said a senior South Korean government official. "So the existing list of UN sanctions on the North is essentially China's list."
The Nkorea topic is always entertaining to me:lol:
Really? :) They became like that because of Chinese pampering from decades in the name of Communism and what not. By looking at South/North they remind me of West/East Germany, though people are quite different. I believe both should be united. All these tensions are useless and load of crap.
The Japanese only want to shoot it down because they are scared DPRK will overtake them in the technology stakes :rolleyes:
Just Do It
Dec 14th, 2012, 02:14 PM
China staying neutral just because they are communists, if not, they would crush them in a week.
Dec 14th, 2012, 02:22 PM
The Nkorea topic is always entertaining to me:lol:
i'm sure the people starving and being tortured in gulags find it just as entertaining as you do.
can't believe china has not had enough of this bullshit. they should stop this.