N Korea Defies Warnings, Launches Long-Range Missile

December 12, 2012, Wednesday // 02:14
Bulgaria: N Korea Defies Warnings, Launches Long-Range Missile
The launch was carried out at around 09:50 local time. Photo by RIA Novosti/AFP

North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Wednesday, defying international warnings.

The launch was carried out from the launch site in the country's northwest.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said it had detected the launching and tracked the missile — a Galaxy-3 rocket, called the Unha-3 by the North — as its first stage appeared to fall into the Yellow Sea and the second stage into the Philippine Sea.

NORAD added that the rocket appeared to deploy "an object" which achieved orbit.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said the rocket succeeded in the ostensible goal of putting an earth-observation satellite named Kwangmyongsong-3, or Shining Star-3, into orbit, The New York Times informs.

Shortly after the launch, security-related ministers gathered for emergency meetings in Japan and South Korea.

The White House slammed the apparently successful launch as a "highly provocative act," claiming the move would only drive Pyongyang further into international isolation.

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