North Korea has defied international warnings and launched a long-range rocket that the United Nations and others call a cover for a banned test of technology for a missile that could strike the U.S. mainland. The launch, which South Korean officials confirmed about two hours after an eight-day launch window opened Sunday morning, follows North Korea’s widely disputed claim last month to have tested a hydrogen bomb.
It will be considered a further provocation by Washington and its allies and likely draw more sanctions and condemnation from the United Nations. North Korean rocket and nuclear tests are seen as crucial steps toward the North’s ultimate goal of a nuclear armed long-range missile arsenal. North Korea says its nuclear and missile programs are necessary to defend itself against what it calls decades of U.S. hostility. FULL REPORT