North Korea launches rocket amid condemnations
Scientists and technicians of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Wednesday successfully launched the second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 into its orbit by carrier rocket Unha-3, true to the last instructions of leader Kim Jong Il.
According to Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), carrier rocket Unha-3 with the second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 atop blasted off from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province at 09:49:46 on December 12, Juche 101 (2012).
The satellite entered its preset orbit at 09:59:13, 9 minutes and 27 seconds after the lift-off.
The satellite is going round the polar orbit at 499.7 km perigee altitude and 584.18 km apogee altitude at the angle of inclination of 97.4 degrees. Its cycle is 95 minutes and 29 seconds, said KCNA.
The scientific and technological satellite is fitted with survey and communications devices essential for the observation of the earth.
"The successful launch of the satellite is a proud fruition of the Workers' Party of Korea's policy of attaching importance to the science and technology. It is also an event of great turn in developing the country's science, technology and economy by fully exercising the independent right to use space for peaceful purposes," said the KCNA.
"At a time when great yearnings and reverence for Kim Jong Il pervade the whole country, its scientists and technicians brilliantly carried out his behests to launch a scientific and technological satellite in 2012, the year marking the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung," it said.
Meanwhile, the rocket launch sparked worldwide condemnations.
The White House said North Korea's rocket launch is a "highly provocative act that threatens regional security".
The White House statement, from National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, said: "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."
South Korea President Lee Myung-bak reportedly held an emergency national security council meeting on North Korea's move.
North Korea's main ally China also expressed regret.
Japan described the event as something it "cannot tolerate", while Russia voiced "deep regret".
India expressed its concern at the rocket launch in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874.
"This unwarranted action by the Government of DPRK has adversely impacted peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. India calls on DPRK to refrain from such actions," said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).