White House vows response to North Korean launch

The White House vowed to retaliate with “appropriate action” to North Korea’s launch of an object into space on Tuesday, claiming the pariah dictatorship deliberately violated United Nations agreements against ballistic missile technology and threatened Asian security. “The international community must work in a concerted fashion to send North Korea a clear message that its ...

White House vows response to North Korean launch
White House vows response to North Korean launch
White House vows response to North Korean launch

The White House vowed to retaliate with “appropriate action” to North Korea’s launch of an object into space on Tuesday, claiming the pariah dictatorship deliberately violated United Nations agreements against ballistic missile technology and threatened Asian security.

“The international community must work in a concerted fashion to send North Korea a clear message that its violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions have consequences,” said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, in a statement.

The U.S. military’s North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracked the launch, which North Korea claimed was to put a satellite into orbit. In a rare statement from NORAD, delivered through the Pentagon, the command said the missile flew southward, dropping two boosters stages along the way.  Japanese news said the missile flew over Okinawa.

The White House vowed to retaliate with “appropriate action” to North Korea’s launch of an object into space on Tuesday, claiming the pariah dictatorship deliberately violated United Nations agreements against ballistic missile technology and threatened Asian security.

“The international community must work in a concerted fashion to send North Korea a clear message that its violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions have consequences,” said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, in a statement.

The U.S. military’s North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracked the launch, which North Korea claimed was to put a satellite into orbit. In a rare statement from NORAD, delivered through the Pentagon, the command said the missile flew southward, dropping two boosters stages along the way.  Japanese news said the missile flew over Okinawa.

“Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit. At no time was the missile or the resultant debris a threat to North America,” said the command.

That threat is Washington’s chief concern. North Korea, a nuclear state, does not have a long-range ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental United States, but during a visit through China in 2011, Defense Secretary Robert Gates predicted Pyongyang was within five-years of achieving that technology. Pyongyang reportedly claimed it launched a weather satellite.

Vietor on Tuesday said, “North Korea’s launch today — using ballistic missile technology despite express prohibitions by United Nations Security Council resolutions — is a highly provocative act that threatens regional security, directly violates United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874, contravenes North Korea’s international obligations, and undermines the global non-proliferation regime.”

Vietor said the White House would quickly pursue talks with Six-Party members and the United Nations Security Council to determine what action to take in response to the launch.

“Devoting scarce resources to the development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons has not brought it security and acceptance by the international community—and never will.”

Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge. Twitter: @FPBaron

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