Failed North Korea Rocket Launch May Prompt Nuke Test
North Korea’s failed rocket launch is raising concerns that the communist state might conduct a nuclear test to overcome the international embarrassment. The rocket traveled a little more than 60 miles before exploding over a sea separating the Korean peninsula and China late yesterday. The U.S., South Korea, Japan, and most other nations believe the rocket was a ballistic missile test, and not a satellite launch as North Korea claimed.
World leaders were swift to denounce the launch, calling it a covert test of missile technology and a flagrant violation of international resolutions prohibiting North Korea from developing its nuclear missile programs.
The rocket’s destruction suggests the country has yet to master the technology needed to build long-range missiles that could threaten the United States. Still, worries remain about North Korea’s nuclear program amid reports that it may be planning an atomic test soon.
The launch is also a setback for the government of new leader Kim Jong Un, which had touted the satellite as a show of strength amid persistent economic hardship while he solidifies power following the death of his father, longtime leader Kim Jong Il, four months ago.