North Korea fired a long-range rocket Wednesday morning and declared the launch a success. A similar launch in April broke apart shortly after liftoff.
North Korea says the purpose of the rocket launch was to put a weather satellite in orbit but critics say it is aimed at nurturing the kind of technology needed to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile. North Korea added that it chose a safe flight path so debris wouldn’t endanger neighboring countries.
The launch had been timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong-il. This year is also the centennial of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of Kim Jong Un.
North Korea is banned from testing missile or nuclear technology under U.N. sanctions imposed after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear weapons tests.