North Korea DMZ
Korean Demilitarized Zone The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is an area of land 4 kilometers-wide strip of land straddling the 151 mile long Military Demarcation Line The opposing sides agreed under the Armistice Agreement from entering the territory, air space or contiguous waters under control of the other. Even though North Korea has committed violations at sea and in the air, and has infiltrated armed agents along South Korea’s extensive coastline and outlying islands, it is in and along the DMZ that most Armistice violations have occurred.Home to some 2 million soldiers, the DMZ is the world's most heavily fortified border.These pictures by Mike Stone are from the Korean DMZ,2005.UPDATE April 2009
UN council to meet on North Korean rocket launch
By China correspondent Stephen McDonell and wires
South Koreans watch as N Korea launches rocket
All eyes on Pyongyang... South Koreans watch a special news broadcast at Seoul railway station. (AFP)
An emergency meeting of the United Nations security council will be held in the coming hours to discuss North Korea's controversial rocket launch.
North Korea went ahead with the launch in the face of international calls not to.
Despite the pleadings of North Korea's closest ally here in Beijing, North Korea fired a long-range rocket over Japan and into space earlier today.
China had warned that North Korea was threatening regional stability but the government in Pyongyang said this is nothing more than a peaceful satellite launch.
North Korea signed up to international treaties on space exploration last month.
But many analysts say that the rocket launch is really a test of a ballistic missile capable of carrying a warhead to the United States.
Japan had feared that sections of the rocket would fall on its territory and threatened to shoot down any part of it which posed a threat.
Booster sections of the rocket fell into the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean.
"For North Korea, this was an event they could not allow to fail," said Shunki Hiraiwa, from Japan's Shizuoka Preferctural University.
"They will stress that it was a success and try to use it in missile negotations with the United States as well as domestically."
Diplomats say Japan and the United States want the UN council to pass a resolution condemning the launch and calling for tougher enforcement of existing UN sanctions.
The Australian Government has joined nations speaking out against North Korea's actions.
The Government believes the launch breaches a resolution by the United Nations security council, and is urging the body to consider further action.
In a statement, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the development is deeply concerning and provocative.
US president Barack Obama also condemned the move as provocative in a statement issued from the Czech capital, Prague, where he will soon give a major speech calling for the world to get rid of nuclear weapons.
"The launch today of a Taepodong-2 missile was a clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718, which expressly prohibits North Korea from conducting ballistic missile-related activities of any kind," he said.
"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.
"North Korea has a pathway to acceptance in the international community, but it will not find that acceptance unless it abandons its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and abides by its international obligations and commitments."
'Not conducive to peace'
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon says the launch did not help efforts to secure regional peace and stability and urged Pyongyang to comply with security council resolutions.
"Given the volatility in the region ... such a launch is not conducive to efforts to promote dialogue, regional peace and stability," Mr Ban said in a statement issued by his press office.
"The secretary-general urges (North Korea) to comply with relevant security council resolutions."
South Korea's foreign minister Yu Myung-Hwan says the launch "is a clear violation of UNSC 1718", which was passed after the North's 2006 missile and nuclear tests and bans it from conducting ballistic missile tests.
"Regardless of any North Korean claims, this is provocative activity which threatens stability and peace on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia," the minister said.
"The government expresses grave concern as North Korea went ahead with the launch despite calls by the governments of South Korea, the US, Japan, China and Russia for cancellation of its planned launch."
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