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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

North Korea rocket launch no threat to Taiwan: official

ROC Central News Agency

2012/12/12 12:41:25

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) North Korea's rocket launch on Wednesday did not pose any threat to Taiwan's national security, a Taiwanese defense official said, shortly after reports of North Korea's firing of the rocket.

'The military has been on top of North Korea's rocket launch,' Ministry of National Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said.

The rocket passed over waters some 200 kilometers east off Taiwan, the ministry said.

The first and second stages of the rocket crashed into waters off South Korea and the Philippines, respectively, Luo said, adding that the debris did not affect Taiwan.

The ministry had its Patriot missile system and Kidd-class warships ready for any possible contingencies in response to North Korea's rocket launch, he added.

North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday that the rocket Unha-3 had lifted off from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, carrying the second-generation Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite.

'The satellite entered its preset orbit,' it said.

This was North Korea's second launch of a long-range rocket in 2012.

The launch comes at a sensitive time, just one week before South Korea holds its presidential election.

The launch has drawn widespread criticism from the international community, with some countries describing it as a disguised ballistic missile test, reports said.

(By Elaine Hou)

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