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.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Sunny
April 12, 2012 5:26 PM
Great news that the launch has failed,that shows the vile regime
is going to end too.This vile regime ignores their starved and poor people and put million and milion money to launch this one for the regime King's birthday.But launch failed that is a nemesis!

April 12, 2012 5:03 PM
exhaust all resources to build up NORTH KOREAN military power

by: joebore
April 12, 2012 5:01 PM
the aliens took it down :))))

by: filipina
April 12, 2012 4:24 PM
Hasn't any body seen the effect this will do to the Philippines? Are you all morons!? People here in the PI are dead scared of where that rocket is gonna fall apart!? cause seriously looking at how your minds work i can definitely say along its way that rocket will fail!!!! I hope your debris wont go flying everywhere here!

by: anon
April 12, 2012 4:07 PM
Path to globalization: first the communists, then the terrorists, then the rogue nations, then the asteroids, and finally the alien threat.

Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and others are of no threat to the United States. If we allow ourselves to become scared into yet another war of aggression, we will take one more step towards globalization. Feed thine enemies and live in peace.

by: mike
April 12, 2012 3:35 PM
There is only one resort, wipe N. korea off the map. Nobody likes them anyway.

by: NVO
April 12, 2012 3:32 PM
This ACME Wiley Coyote so-called rocket will FAIL, GUARANTEED. Antiquated technology. This failure is GUARANTEED, WATCH AND SEE.
Supreme Buffoons!!!!!! Failure!
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