The United States will halt planned shipments of thousands of tons in food aid to North Korea after the reclusive Asian nation’s test of a long-range rocket, an Obama administration official said today.
The rocket launch means the United States will suspend 240,000 tons of food aid promised as part of a February agreement by North Korea to halt nuclear and missile tests, according to the official, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
President Barack Obama’s administration sought to keep North Korea from conducting the test. The launch complicates U.S.-led efforts to engage North Korea after Kim Jong Un took control following the December death of his father, Kim Jong Il.
North Korea’s rocket launch was a failed effort that nonetheless violated international law and jeopardized regional security, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
“Despite the failure of its attempted missile launch, North Korea’s provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments,” Carney said in an e-mailed statement.
The U.S. military tracked the rocket and said its first stage fell into the Yellow Sea 165 kilometers (102 miles) west of Seoul, according to a North American Aerospace Defense Command statement. The launch was detected at 6:39 p.m. Washington time, NORAD said.
No Threat From Missile
“The remaining stages were assessed to have failed and no debris fell on land,” NORAD said in its statement, identifying the missile as a Taepo Dong-2. “At no time were the missile or the resultant debris a threat.”
The launch was in part a propaganda move, and its failure will have internal ramifications for North Korea’s government, according to the administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The food aid had been contingent on U.S. ability to monitor its delivery and provocations such as the launch now made that impossible, the official said.
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