February 7, 2016 9:23 am
By Hyung-Jin Kim The Associated Press
WATCH ABOVE: North Korean state media said the country has put a satellite into orbit on a successful rocket launch and it vowed the North would launch more satellites in the future.
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea launched a long-range rocket Sunday, the first day of its announced eight-day launch window and about a month after the country’s fourth nuclear test led to international condemnation.
Already, world leaders are lining up to condemn the launch, which is being described as a potential threat to regional and world security.
For help on what it all means, here are some things to consider about the North’s latest move:
Satellite launch or missile test?
Washington, Seoul and others consider the launch a banned test of missile technology. That suspicion is based on the fact that Pyongyang has been openly pushing to manufacture nuclear-tipped missiles capable of striking the U.S. mainland and that the technology used to launch a satellite-carrying rocket into space can be applied to fire a long-range missile.
Simply speaking, a rocket is called a space launch vehicle when it is used to send up a satellite into orbit, but it becomes a missile when its payload is a warhead.
Getting a rocket into orbit takes less than 10 minutes. A missile would take about 30 minutes to travel from North Korea to the continental U.S., experts say.