Thursday, April 12, 2012
Defying international pressure, North Korea launched a multistage rocket Friday morning, but it apparently blew up less than 120 seconds into flight, parts crashing in the Yellow Sea off South Korea.
The rocket took off around 7:39 a.m. local time from a new launch facility in the country’s northwest corner and flew south towards Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.
About 90 seconds into flight, roughly the time its first stage should have burned out and second stage kicked in, the rocket flared brightly and exploded, U.S. and South Korean defense officials said.
Parts fell into water near South Korea’s Jeju Island, South Korean media reported.
“The launch failed,” a U.S. official said.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement that despite the failed launch, “North Korea’s provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments. “
Carney added “any missile activity by North Korea is of concern to the international community. The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations, and is fully committed to the security our allies in the region.”