North Korea test-fires rocket, but launch fails
Published Thursday, April 12, 2012 11:34PM EDT
North Korea defied international pressure and test-fired a three-stage rocket on Friday, but the first stage fell into the sea and the remaining two stages failed, according to the U.S. military.
The test was meant to coincide with celebrations honouring North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung, and its failure could be seen as a major embarrassment for the isolated country.
Officials with North American Aerospace Defence Command tracked the rocket and said it went south over the Yellow Sea, 165 kilometres west of Seoul.
The first stage fell into the sea and the other two stages failed, NORAD said.
The launch was considered a major provocation by the U.S. and its allies. American officials said they would halt a shipment of food aid to North Korea in response.
White House spokesman said North Korea had only succeeded in further isolating itself.
"While this action is not surprising, given North Korea's pattern of aggressive behaviour, any missile activity by North Korea is of concern to the international community," Carney said in a statement.
The United Nations Security Council planned to meet Friday to consider further action against North Korea.
Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had warned that her government would take action against the country if the test went ahead.
"Pyongyang has a clear choice: It can pursue peace and reap the benefits of closer ties with the international community, including the United States; or it can continue to face pressure and isolation," Clinton said.
South Korea's Defence Ministry said the rocket was fired at 7:39 a.m. local time from the hamlet of Tongchang-ri, which is on the western coast of North Korea.
It's believed the rocket test was part of North Korea's plans to launch a satellite into orbit. Pyongyang has made two previous attempts to send a satellite into orbit since 1998.
With files from The Associated Press