North Korea rocket launch provokes global outcry….

By Linda Sieg and Jack Kim TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea fired a long-range rocket over Japan on Sunday, provoking international outrage and triggering an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council as it succeeded in grabbing the world’s attention. The reclusive communist state’s official media said a satellite had been launched into orbit, and it was now circling the earth transmitting revolutionary songs. But both the U.S. military and South Korea said nothing had entered orbit. U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.N. Security Council should deliver a strong message to North Korea for what analysts believe was effectively a test of a ballistic missile designed to carry a warhead potentially as far as Alaska. The rocket launch is the first big challenge for Obama in dealing with the prickly North, whose efforts to build a nuclear arsenal have long plagued ties with Washington. North Korea tested a nuclear device in 2006. “With this provocative act, North Korea has ignored its international obligations, rejected unequivocal calls for restraint, and further isolated itself from the community of nations,” Obama, who is on a European tour, said in a statement. Obama later said North Korea must be forced to change. The 15-member U.N. Security Council will hold consultations on the launch at 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday. Addressing thousands of people in Prague, Obama committed himself to reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal and said Washington would seek to engage all nuclear weapons states in arms reduction efforts. The White House said Obama remained committed to six-nation talks to “denuclearize” North Korea. South Korea branded the launch of the rocket a “reckless” act, Japan said it was “extremely regrettable” and the European Union “strongly condemned” Pyongyang’s step. China, the nearest the reclusive North has to a major ally, and Russia both called on all sides for calm and restraint. Analysts said Washington and Tokyo may seek a U.N. resolution condemning the reclusive state’s action, but they expect resistance to tougher action such as new sanctions from Beijing. “NEGOTIATING HAND STRENGTHENED” South Korea earlier said the rocket appeared to be carrying a satellite but Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee later told parliament that it failed to orbit, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported. The U.S. Northern Command said on its website that stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan and that the remaining stages along with the payload landed in the Pacific Ocean. Analysts said the rocket launch may bolster North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s authority after a suspected stroke last August raised doubts about his grip on power. It wins North Korea the attention it has sought as the new U.S. administration wrestles with recession and the war in Afghanistan, and it could strengthen Kim’s hand in using military threats to win concessions from global powers. “North Korea is likely to judge that its negotiating position has been strengthened now that it has both the nuclear and missile cards,” said Shunji Hiraiwa of Shizuoka Prefectural University in Japan. Washington, Seoul and Tokyo had said before the launch that in reality it would be a test of the Taepodong-2 missile, which is designed to fly an estimated 6,700 km (4,200 miles). Japan said it stopped monitoring the rocket after it had passed 2,100 km (1,305 miles) east of Tokyo. In the only previous test flight of the Taepodong-2, in July 2006, the rocket blew apart 40 seconds after launch. Park jong-Kyu, an economist at the Korea Institute of Finance in Seoul, said the impact on financial markets when they reopen on Monday would most likely be short-lived or negligible. “When North Korea carried out the nuclear test several years ago, Seoul markets had fallen on the very day but recovered the next day. Based on the situation until now, it’s not a market moving factor anymore,” Park said. In New York, Japan’s U.N. ambassador requested an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss the launch. The United States, Japan and South Korea will view the launch as a violation of a Security Council resolution passed in 2006 after Pyongyang’s nuclear test and other missile tests. That resolution, number 1718, demands North Korea “suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program.” CHINA COULD USE VETO U.N. Security Council diplomats have told Reuters on condition of anonymity that no country is considering imposing new sanctions but the starting point could be discussing a resolution for the stricter enforcement of earlier sanctions. Both Russia and China have made clear they would block new sanctions by the Security Council, where they have veto power. “China’s principle is only to support United Nations sanctions in the most extreme cases,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international security at Renmin University in Beijing. “Although the launch was serious, it was much less serious than the nuclear test.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the launch was not conducive to peace and stability and called on North Korea to return to six-country talks on ending its nuclear programs. Stephen Bosworth, Washington’s special envoy for North Korea, said ahead of the launch last week that he hoped to bring the North back to the talks once the “dust” had settled. While saying the talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States were central to efforts to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program, he also said Washington was ready for direct contact with Pyongyang at any time. The six-party talks stalled in December and Pyongyang has threatened to quit the dialogue if the United Nations imposes any punishment over its rocket launch. (Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Kim Yeon-hee in Seoul, Rodney Joyce in Tokyo, Caren Bohan and Matt Spetalnick in Prague and Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations, Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Dean Yates) © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

As Obama hides, cowering, under a rock. Real tough Barry. Kim Jong Il is quaking in his boots! Sorry, that is from him laughing hysterically, at what a wimpy boob you appear to be. 

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