North Korea rocket launch: good news, no war for now

After weeks of saber rattling, North Korea today launched a rocket feared by the West to be a Intercontinental Ballistic Missile test.

The rocket, launched at 11:30am local time, cleared Japanese airspace meaning that there was no attempt to shoot it down, an act that North Korea said it would interpret as an act of war.

Japan immediately requested an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council, and the launch was condemned by world leaders. US President Barack Obama said that “with this provocative act, North Korea has ignored its international obligations, rejected unequivocal calls for restraint, and further isolated itself from the community of nations.”

Obama took no immediate action, instead committing to consultations. “We will immediately consult with our allies in the region, including Japan and (South Korea), and members of the U.N. Security Council to bring this matter before the Council,” Obama added. “I urge North Korea to abide fully by the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and to refrain from further provocative actions.”

It is not clear yet whether the launch was of a satellite, as claimed by the North Koreans, or something more sinister. Boosters from the rocket fell in the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean.