North Korea has come under criticism after it fired a long-range rocket described as a test of ‘Banned Missile Technology’.
A state broadcaster also announced that North Korea had successfully placed a satellite in orbit.
Japan, South Korea and the US had condemned the launch, and requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council later on Sunday.
South Korea said it is to begin discussion with the US over the deployment of a missile defence system aimed at countering the threat from the North.
And while North Korea insisted its space programme is purely scientific in nature, the US, South Korea and even ally China, said that the rocket launches were aimed at developing an inter-continental ballistic missile capable of striking the US.
North Korea provoked international criticism earlier this year with a fourth nuclear bomb test on January 6.
Sunday’s launch does not significantly alter the strategic balance of power in North East Asia. It is not the first time North Korea had attempted to put an object into space using a long-range rocket.
But it is nonetheless a highly-provocative act, hence the reaction from Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, calling it “unforgivable”, “intolerable” and a “major provocation.”
The significance is in the timing, with the launch coming just a month after the North’s fourth nuclear test and with the UN Security Council in the middle of weighing its sanctions response.