The US and UK called the launching of the three-stage Unha-3 rocket a provocative action; Japan called it “intolerable” and even China said it was “extremely regrettable.” But the Japanese government, which had placed its forces on alert ahead of the launch, said that although the missile passed over parts of Okinawa, “We launched no interception.” A US defense official confirmed that North Korea had indeed placed an object in orbit as Pyongyang claimed. 
The concern is that the launch brings North Korea closer to combining its long-range missile program with its nuclear capabilities and so bring the West US coast within range. North Korea and Iran have long cooperated in both areas and, as DEBKAfile reported earlier, a group of Iranian missile scientists was present the testing site at Pyongyang’s invitation.