Like Before, Rocket Fails To Reach Orbit
In Europe Sunday, President Barack
Obama strongly criticized Saturday night's failed missile launch by
North Korea. The three-stage rocket -- ostensibly an attempt to
place a satellite into orbit -- failed to achieve orbit and fell
back into the Pacific Ocean without incident, according to the US
Obama was informed of the launch attempt while in the Czech
Republic Sunday. The President told an audience in Prague that the
North Korean missile launch was provocative and had violated UN
international security rules.
"Once again, by testing a rocket that could be used for
long-range missiles, this provocation underscores the need for
action, not just this afternoon at the UN Security Council, but in
our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons," Obama
said. "Rules must be binding; violations must be punished; words
must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the
spread of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international
First threatened by North Korean officials in
February, the latest firing of a Taepodong-2 rocket
met with much the same fate as previous launches... despite nearly
three years of development time since the last attempt.
The missile passed over Japan but jettisoned no debris there,
according to the US Northern Command news release issued Sunday.
Its first stage fell into the Sea of Japan; the rest of the stages
and the payload, reportedly a communications satellite, landed in
the Pacific Ocean, according to the release.
The North Koreans say the rocket had
successfully placed the satellite into orbit, according to news
reports. The missile's flight path had presented no threat to North
America or Hawaii.
According to news reports, the UN Security Council has scheduled
an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss the North Korean
missile launch issue.
During his visit to Europe, President Obama (right) reportedly
said in Prague after hearing of the launch that North Korea's
missile launch was provocative and violated UN international
security rules, according to news reports.
Any North Korean missile launch would have a negative impact on
efforts to lessen tensions in the region, a US State Department
official told reporters in the days leading up to last night's
The North Koreans have insisted that their Taepodong 2 missile
launch is for peaceful purposes. North Korea's neighbors South
Korea and Japan were alarmed at the possibility of another launch.
The North Koreans conducted an unsuccessful missile launch in 2006
when their rocket briefly passed over Japanese territory.
Another North Korean missile launch "would be counterproductive"
to soothing tensions in the region, US State Department spokesman
Robert Wood told reporters at an April 2 news conference in
International diplomats have employed Six-Party Talks to
persuade North Korea to jettison its nuclear weapons program. Arms
control experts believe that a nuclear-armed North Korea would
ratchet up tensions and prompt a nuclear-arms race across the
(Aero-News thanks Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press