SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea defiantly carried out a provocative rocket launch Sunday that the U.S., Japan and other nations suspect was a cover for a test of its long-range missile technology.
Liftoff took place at 11:30 a.m. (North Korean time) Sunday from the coastal Musudan-ri launch pad in northeastern North Korea, the South Korean and U.S. governments said. The multistage rocket hurtled toward the Pacific, reaching Japanese airspace within seven minutes, but no debris appeared to hit its territory, officials in Tokyo said.
The U.N. Security Council approved an emergency session for Sunday afternoon in New York, following a request from Japan that came minutes after the launch.
The South Koreans called it "reckless," the Americans "provocative," and Japan said it strongly protested the launch.
The launch was a bold act of defiance against President Barack Obama, Japanese leader Taro Aso, Hu Jintao of China and others who pressed Pyongyang in the days leading up to liftoff to call off a launch they said would threaten peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
We know it was a multi-stage but did not get high enough to launch a satellite. And not a threat to have Japan fire the Aegas or Missile Shield to go off. Just a rattling of the saber of Kim Il-Jong.