London : North Korea has been warned of ‘serious consequences’ by the United States after it launched a long-range rocket this morning in defiance of international sanctions banning it from using ballistic missile technology.
Pyongyang said the rocket had successfully put an Earth observation satellite into orbit but the US and its allies believe the regime uses satellite launches as covert tests of technology that could be used to develop a missile capable of striking the US mainland.
North Korean announcer said the launch demonstrated the country’s right to develop a ‘peaceful and independent’ space programme.
The launch drew immediate condemnation from other countries in the region and from Washington, reported the Guardian.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said that it was ‘a flagrant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions’ banning Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology.
Kerry said the launch was ‘a major provocation, threatening not only the security of the Korean peninsula, but that of the region and the United States as well’.
US National Security Adviser Susan Rice has called on the international community to show Pyongyang that its ‘reckless actions must have serious consequences’.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the launch as ‘deeply deplorable’ and urged North Korea to ‘halt its provocative actions’.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the launch was ‘absolutely unacceptable’ and a ‘clear violation’ of the UN Security Council resolutions while South Korean President Park Geun-hye described it as ‘an unforgivable act of provocation’.
North Korea’s only major ally China has ‘expressed regret’ about the launch. (ANI)