UN Security Council weighs response to North Korea rocket launch


Japan's Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto (C) is surrounded by reporters upon his arrival at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo to attend a meeting of the Security Council on December 12, 2012. North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket in defiance of UN sanctions threats over what Pyongyang's critics have condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test. Japan did not try to shoot down a North Korean rocket as it passed over its southern island chain of Okinawa, the government said on December 12, strongly condemning the launch.



The UN Security Council said it is considering "an appropriate response" after North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket on Wednesday. 

The UN said that Pyongyang violated a 2009 council resolution banning “any launch using ballistic missile technology," reports AP. 

"Members of the Security Council condemned this launch, which is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874," Moroccan UN. Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki, president of the Security Council this month, told Reuters.

North Korea claimed that a satellite had successfully been put into orbit early Wednesday and US military officials confirmed that an object had been put into space. 

AP reports that the launch is seen as a sign that Pyongyang is one step closer to being capable of sending a nuclear warhead as far away as California.

North Korean officials claim the satellite is meant to study crops and weather patterns and maintain they have a right to develop a civilian space program. 

The US immediately condemned the launch, calling it a "highly provocative act that threatens regional security", reports the BBC. 

US National Security Council spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said in Washington, "This action is yet another example of North Korea's pattern of irresponsible behaviour. Given this current threat to regional security, the United States will strengthen and increase our close coordination with allies and partners."

"The international community must work in a concerted fashion to send North Korea a clear message that its violations of UN Security Council resolutions have consequences," he added. 

The US and its European allies called for the Security Council to deliver a strong reaction to Wednesday’s launch, reports AP. But it's unclear weather China, Pyongyang's closest ally, will agree to new sanctions.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called an emergency meeting of his top advisers to discuss a reaction to the launch. The BBC reports that his foreign minister said the government strongly condemned the launch.