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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

North Korea Says Satellite In Orbit, NORAD Confirms

RIA Novosti

07:05 12/12/2012

NEW YORK/TOKYO, December 12 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea's official news agency said a carrier rocket has delivered into orbit the second version of Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite on Wednesday.

"On December 12, the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite was successfully launched atop the Unha-3 rocket from the Sohae Space Center," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. "The satellite has reached the designated orbit."

The launch was carried out at around 09:50 local time (04:50 Moscow time).

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) also confirmed the launch on its website, noting that 'US missile warning systems detected and tracked the launch of a North Korean missile at 7:49 p.m. EST.'

NORAD added that the rocket appeared to deploy 'an object' which achieved orbit, according to its website.

The White House slammed the apparently successful launch as a 'highly provocative act,' claiming the move would only drive Pyongyang further into international isolation, according to a statement by US National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, expressed concern over the potentially negative effects on regional stability the North Korean launch might have, his press service said early Wednesday.

The Japanese government confirmed the rocket passed over Okinawa, but the Japanese military did not intercept it.

According to Japanese authorities, the debris from the first stage fell into the Yellow Sea about 200 km west of the Korean peninsula, while the second stage separated above the East China Sea. The third stage fell some 300 km off the Philippines' eastern coast in the Pacific.

The launch has already been condemned by several countries, including the UK and Japan.

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