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

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
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 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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs