Seoul (AFP) – North Korea hailed an “epochal event” but its latest long-range rocket launch Sunday sparked international anger and plans for talks on a US missile defence system for the peninsula.
Pyongyang’s state TV announced the nation successfully put a satellite into orbit, “legitimately exercising the right to use space for independent and peaceful purposes”.
Many others saw an exercise which clearly defied multiple UN resolutions — a disguised test of a ballistic missile which could one day deliver a warhead as far as the US mainland.
The United Nations labelled the launch “deeply deplorable” and Japan termed it “absolutely intolerable”. Even the isolated state’s sole major ally China expressed regret.
The international community is still struggling to reach agreement on how to respond to Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test — of what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb — on January 6.
After Sunday’s launch, South Korean and US defence officials announced they would begin formal talks on deploying a US missile defence system in South Korea.
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