Tuesday, December 11, 2012
North Korea launches long-range rocket, Iran denies cooperation.(TA). NORTH Korea today carried out a widely criticised rocket launch, seen by many in the international community as a disguised ballistic missile test, the South Korean defence ministry said.
The Japanese government said the missile passed over its southern island chain of Okinawa around 12 minutes after take-off, which was 9.49am local time (11.49am AEDT).
Tokyo said it believed parts of the rocket had fallen into the sea off the Korean peninsula, with another part dropping into the ocean near the Philippines.
"The missile that North Korea calls a satellite passed over Okinawa around 10.01am. We launched no interception," the Japanese government said.
"It is extremely regrettable that North Korea went through with the launch despite our calls to exercise restraint,'' chief government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said.
"Our country cannot tolerate this. We strongly protest to North Korea.'' South Korea's Yonhap news agency, citing a government source, said the rocket had been launched from the Sohae satellite launch centre.
A successful launch this time would mark a major advance in the North's bid to mate an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability with its nuclear weapons program.
Meanwhile Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast categorically denied the media reports about cooperation between Iran and North Korea in missile and nuclear fields. Speaking to reporters in his weekly press conference here in Tehran on Tuesday, Mehman-Parast said the media reports recently released about alleged missile and nuclear cooperation between Tehran and Pyongyang are "baseless".
His remarks came a day after the media outlets said that a group of Iranian missile experts are in North Korea offering technical assistance with a planned long-range rocket launch.
The Iranians were invited after Pyongyang's last rocket launch in April ended in failure, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper said, citing a Seoul government official.
Earlier this month, Japan's Kyodo news agency, too, quoted a western diplomatic source as saying Iran had stationed defense staff in North Korea since October to strengthen cooperation in missile and nuclear development. Hmmmm......Who accused Iran of cooperating lately?Read the full story here.