North Korea test fires long-range rocket

North Korea again defies international warnings and launches a long-range rocket. New sanctions on the way?

Ben Ariel ,

North Korea flag
North Korea flag

North Korea on Sunday defied international warnings and launched a long-range rocket, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The launch was confirmed by South Korean officials about two hours after an eight-day launch window opened Sunday morning. It will be considered a further provocation by Washington and its allies and likely draw more sanctions and condemnation from the United Nations, noted AP.

North Korean rocket and nuclear tests are seen as crucial steps toward the North's ultimate goal of a nuclear armed long-range missile arsenal. North Korea says its nuclear and missile programs are necessary to defend itself against what it calls decades of “U.S. hostility.”

In early January, North Korea conducted a nuclear test and claimed it launched a hydrogen bomb, prompting the House of Representatives to vote nearly unanimously to pass legislation that would broaden sanctions over North Korea's nuclear program.

The United States originally expressed skepticism over Pyongyang’s claims that it tested a hydrogen bomb during the January 6 test, but after further review and analysis backtracked from the original assessment and said North Korea might have attempted to test components of a hydrogen bomb.

The January 6 nuclear test has led to another push in the UN to tighten sanctions. North Korea in 2013 also did a nuclear test and then unnerved the international community by orchestrating an escalating campaign of bombast, including threats to fire nuclear missiles at the U.S. and Seoul, noted AP.