World Criticism over North Korea Missile Launch

April 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
President Obama is joining the chorus of criticism over North Korea's weekend missile launch.Monday in South Korea, protestors set fire to pictures of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il. "North Korea did not launch a satellite, it launched a missile," claimed one protestor, "the international community must not be fooled."

Whatever the payload, the launch is a worry beyond North Korea's closest neighbors. Even though the rocket failed in its third stage, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean; it flew longer and farther than a rocket North Korea launched in 2006.

The Taepodong 2 has the potential of hitting the United States. The U.S. is leading the call for the United Nations to impose sanctions on North Korea. "North Korea broke the rules once again by testing a rocket that could be used for long range missiles," said President Obama, "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons."

Professor Brian Bridges, head of political science, Lingnan University said, "There may be some motion amongst certain members of the United Nations to impose further sanctions, but there are already a number of sanctions in place, anyway, after the 2006 events. So it's very difficult to see what can be done."

What North Korea may want most is international aid. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, and some say its leaders are using the nuclear weapons program as leverage to get what it wants.

Despite the rocket test, analysts believe North Korea is still a long way off from being able to launch a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

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