UN Condemns North Korea's Satellite Launch

UN Condemns North Korea's Satellite Launch

The United Nations Security Council “strongly condemned” North Korea’s satellite launch, which it views as a ballistic missile test that violates two existing UN resolutions.  It vowed to expeditiously adopt a new resolution that responds both to the satellite launch and North Korea’s recent nuclear test.

The satellite launch took place Saturday evening, February 6, Eastern Standard Time, which was Sunday, February 7, at 00:30 GMT or 9:00 am local time in North Korea (officially
the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea or DPRK).  The Kwongmyongsong-4 remote sensing satellite was placed into a polar orbit from North Korea’s Sohae launch site.

Venezuela currently holds the presidency of the Security Council.  Venezuela’s U.N. permanent representative Rafael Dario Ramierz Carreño said that during an emergency meeting yesterday (Sunday), Security Council members “underscored that this launch, as well as any other DPRK launch that uses ballistic missile technology, even if characterized as a satellite launch or space launch vehicle, contributes to the DPRK’s development of nuclear weapon delivery systems and is a serious violation of Security Council resolutions.”

The Security Council adopted Resolution 1718 in 2006 and Resolution 1874 in 2009 to try to deter North Korea’s development of ballistic missile technology.  The United States also signed an agreement with North Korea on February 29, 2012 agreeing to provide food assistance in return for North Korea participating in negotiations to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and meeting its international obligations, including refraining from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology.   North Korea attempted to launch a satellite six weeks later, but it failed, the third failure in three attempts.   Its first successful launch took place later that year on December 12, 2012.

This launch appears to be a success as well, although whether the satellite is functioning or not is questionable.

Ramirez said the Security Council would “develop significant measures” in a new resolution in response to this launch and North Korea’s January 6, 2016 nuclear test, which took place “in grave violation of the DPRK’s international obligations.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the satellite launch shortly after it took place both through Twitter and a State Department press statement.  The February 6 EST press statement called the launch a “flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions.”   “We reaffirm our ironclad commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan” and will “work with our partners and the UN Security Council on significant measures to hold the D.P.R.K. to account,” Kerry said.

Update, February 15, 2016:   Although the launch appears to have been a success, the status of the satellite is questionable.  Western sources report that there are no signals from it and this article was updated accordingly.

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