Official: North Korea launches rocket
North Korea fired a long-range rocket Friday despite weeks of international warnings against its planned satellite launch, a South Korean offical told the Yonhap news agency Friday.
North Korea had said it intended to launch an Earth observation satellite into orbit during a five-day window that started Thursday, to commemorate the centenary on Sunday of the birth of founder Kim Il Sung, dpa reported.
The international community had previously expressed fears the launch could be a cover for a ballistic missile test, violating UN resolutions prohibiting Pyongyang from engaging in ballistic missile and nuclear activity.
Hours earlier, US Secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the Group of Eight countries had agreed Thursday in Washington "to be prepared to take additional steps" if North Korea went ahead with the threatened launch. Further UN action would be pursued if the launch went through, she said.