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article imageNorth Korea Fires Rocket into Orbit

By Farid Abdulhamid     Apr 5, 2009 in World
Latest reports indicate that North Korea has launched its much anticipated rocket, despite international warnings not to do so.
In recent days, the US, Japan and other western nations have cautioned the communist nation against its decision to launch the rocket, stating that the move would be seen as a provocation against its neighbours and its key western antagonist, the United States.
Prior to the launch, North Korea has persistently claimed that it was only dispatching a satellite into orbit. But western observers claim that the launch was a cover for a possible ballistic missile test.
The BBC has reported that "The rocket blasted off from the Musudan-ri launch site in the northeast of the country at 0230 GMT". Japan has confirmed that the rocket has passed over its air space and into the pacific. But Japanese officials have said that they did not shoot down the rocket as no debris fell over into its territory.
In earlier reports, Japan said that it would only shoot down debris that threatened its territory. Since the rocket flew past Japanese territory with no debris in sight, Japanese authorities stated that the launch did not threaten its sovereignty and hence the decision not to intercept the rocket or retaliate against North Korea.
The US and its allies in the Korean Peninsula have condemned the launch as a "provocative act". There are widespread fears that North Korea has the capability of launching a ballistic missile carrying nuclear warheads that can reach Alaska
According to the BBC, Pyongyang's neighbours " Believe the real aim of the launch was to test long-range missile technology for the Taepodong-2 weapon," which they claim "violates United Nations resolutions".
North Korea 'has launched rocket'.
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