April 12, 2012
The first opportunity for North Korea to launch its controversial rocket passed uneventfully Thursday, keeping the region on tenterhooks for at least another day.
As the launch window opened Thursday morning, the reclusive, nuclear-armed regime’s neighbors were nervously watching for developments from the launch site, which is in a remote area in the northwest of the country.
Japanese missile defense systems scanned the skies above Tokyo and Okinawa. Japan has threatened to shoot down the North Korean rocket if it is seen threatening its territory.
International journalists in Pyongyang were taken on an official visit to a conference that had no connection to the launch. North Korean state television made no mention of the rocket, which the country says is necessary to put a weather satellite in orbit.