File photo shows North Korea’s Unha-3 rocket standing at Sohae Satellite Station, April 8, 2012.
North Korea says it has test-fired a long-range rocket and has successfully placed a satellite into orbit.
“The launch of the second version of our Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite from the Sohae Space Center… on December 12 was successful,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Wednesday.
The agency added that the satellite has entered the orbit “as planned.”
The (North) Korean Committee of Space Technology had originally announced that Pyongyang would launch its Unha-3 rocket between December 10 and 22, but on Monday, it extended the date by a week due to a “technical deficiency.”
A previous launch in April failed when the rocket disintegrated in the air soon after blastoff and fell into the ocean.
Meanwhile according to an unnamed Western diplomat, the UN Security Council is scheduled to meet at the request of the US and Japan later on Wednesday to discuss the launch of the rocket.
“The Japanese and the Americans have requested a Security Council meeting, which will take place late Wednesday morning” around 11:00 a.m. (1700 GMT), the diplomat stated.
Reports say Tokyo, Washington and Seoul have agreed to request the UN Security Council to reinforce Pyongyang’s embargoes.
On December 3, Russia and China urged North Korea not to go ahead with the plan.
Russia said North Korea had been warned not to ignore a UN Security Council resolution which “unambiguously prohibits (it) from launching rockets using ballistic technology.”
On December 4, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was “seriously concerned” about the launch and asked North Korea to “reconsider its decision and to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program.”