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    North Korean Rocket Fails Shortly After Launch

    File photo of the North Korean rocket before its launch
    File photo of the North Korean rocket before its launch

    North Korea tried and failed on Friday to launch a multi-stage rocket. Things appeared to go wrong shortly after the blast-off.

    Officials in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington say North Korea did get its rocket off the launch pad at about 07:40 in the morning.

    But South Korea Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok calls the launch a failure.

    Kim says it is suspected that it failed shortly after the launch, breaking into pieces and losing altitude.

    Japanese Deputy Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura concurs with that assessment, adding that the flight lasted only a minute or two.

    Fujimura says there is no indication any debris fell on Japanese territory.

    Initial reports are that the debris may have fallen into the Yellow Sea about 200 kilometers west of the South Korean coast.

    Japan's defense forces, along with the South Korean and U.S. militaries in the region, had deployed anti-missile batteries on land and at sea to possibly shoot down the object if it flew over Japanese or South Korean territories.

    Japan, the United States and other countries regard the launch as a covert test of ballistic missile technology, in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

    The launch prompted emergency security meetings both in Seoul and in Tokyo.

    The U.N. Security Council is to discuss North Korea during a previously scheduled Friday session.

    South Korea's foreign minister, Kim Sung-hwan, strongly condemns the North going ahead with the launch.

    Kim says it is truly regrettable that North Korea spends huge financial resources on developing nuclear weapons and missiles while its citizens are experiencing such hardships.

    Reporters in Pyongyang who had been told they would be able to view the launch from an observation center were not taken there. At a newsroom set up for the visiting correspondents, North Korean officials declined to answer any questions immediately after the failed launch.


    Steve Herman

    Steve Herman is VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department.

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    Comments page of 2
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    by: Christine
    April 12, 2012 11:31 PM
    I can't belive it. It has happend what I didn't thought of. Previously I always thought NK be able to launch the satellite successfully. None word to be over!

    by: CcyY
    April 12, 2012 10:46 PM
    This matter broke up international community's anticipation again after Kim Jongun who looks like more open than his father went on stage, we were all deceived again. For sure, on the one hand North Korea will still require international aid on the pretext of starving people; on the other hand secretly develop nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles without caring about life or death of its staring citizens. The whole world has been abducted by such a crazy country!

    by: Bruce Parkes
    April 12, 2012 10:34 PM
    Obviously the North Korean regime do not habe any episodes of Mythbusters.

    by: kasim
    April 12, 2012 7:47 PM
    N. Korea has done something incredible which we Chinese can't understand and we ask ourselves, will our country give our hand to N.K if the war break out.

    by: Jang
    April 12, 2012 7:46 PM
    Mike that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen.

    by: Hairyleft nut
    April 12, 2012 6:58 PM
    Koreans are very stubborn, Arrogant ,Rude ,race of people North or South still one race if u know any koreans u will now...as a Teacher in south Korea we see the mentality as we are a superior race the only way u treat a bully is with a more force than the Bully North Korea will fall lets all hope its with a puff and not a nuclear bang.!!!

    by: Al
    April 12, 2012 6:49 PM
    Put a missile defense system around the country and shoot down anything that leaves there country.

    by: Do Hai
    April 12, 2012 6:44 PM
    Korea North is a poor country, but they're living near by the rich others! Everything they did just for bargain and threaten Jappan & South Korea. Nothing else ! Who's bet?

    by: VOA
    April 12, 2012 5:54 PM
    It is just like Chine where many poor and starve people, but donate money and material to Africa and other regions for Political. In domestic, harmonious society is bad lie to people

    by: NVO
    April 12, 2012 5:30 PM
    ACME, Wiley Coyote rocket was starved of rice, just like these Buffoons starve their own people. Go figure! Idiots.
    Comments page of 2
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