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ROK: DPRK's rocket launch failed

Updated: 2012-04-13 08:17
By Wu Jiao in Pyongyang (

ROK: DPRK's rocket launch failed

The control room of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's satellite launch center is shown to foreign journalists on Wednesday. [Photo by Wang Jing/China Daily]

SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired a long-range rocket Friday morning, but the launch appears to have ended in failure, the South Korean defense ministry said.

The Unha-3 rocket dropped several minutes after taking off from the Tongchang-ri launch site at 7:39 am (2239 GMT), the ministry said, adding the rocket broke into several pieces before falling into the sea.

Reports say the rocket seemed to have landed in waters some 200 kilometers off South Korea's western port city of Gunsan.

The DPRK announced last month it would launch the rocket-mounted Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite between April 12 and 16 to mark the centenary of late DPRK founder Kim Il-sung's birth.

Seoul and Washington, among others, see it as a disguised long-range ballistic missile test that violates a UN Security Council resolution.

Seoul and Tokyo have said they will shoot down the rocket if it strays into their territories, while Pyongyang warned of "merciless punishment" for such attempts.

A China Daily reporter in Pyongyang was told that the DPRK will hold an "urgent press conference" this morning. The organizer did not reveal the topic of the press conference, but it was widely believed that it will be about the rocket launch.

UN Security Council to meet

The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet in an emergency session on Friday morning in response to the alleged rocket launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), diplomats said late Thursday.

The 15-nation UN body is expected to meet behind closed doors at 10 am EST (1500 GMT) on Friday, the diplomats said.

The UN Spokesperson Office confirmed the upcoming closed council meeting with the Friday program of the Security Council, which was issued Thursday night.

The Security Council is to hold closed meeting at 10 am EST on Friday on the issue of non-proliferation in connection with the DPRK, according to the program.

The DPRK fired a long-range rocket on Friday morning, but the launch appears to have ended in failure, reports said.

So far, the DPRK has neither confirmed nor denied the launch.

The US UN mission, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency for April, is working on a presidential statement with its intention to get it approved by the council on Friday in a bid to condemn the rocket launch by Pyongyang, diplomats said.

A presidential statement, which is adopted by consensus, does not carry the weight of a Security Council resolution, which requires nine votes in favor to pass, with no vetoes from any of the five permanent council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

White House: DPRK's rocket launch threatens regional security

The White House said on Thursday that the reported rocket launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) threatens regional security and violates international law.

"Despite the failure of its attempted missile launch, North Korea (the DPRK)'s provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments," the White House said in a statement.

The statement came after Japan, South Korea and the United States reported that the DPRK launched a rocket on Friday morning local time, whose launch appeared to have failed.

So far, the DPRK has neither confirmed nor denied the launch.

"The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations, and is fully committed to the security our allies in the region," said the statement.

The statement also noted that US President Barack Obama has made it clear that he is prepared to "engage constructively with North Korea."

"However, he has also insisted that North Korea live up to its own commitments, adhere to its international obligations and deal peacefully with its neighbors," the statement added.

The statement said that DPRK's "provocative acts" only further isolates itself, and its long-standing development of missiles and pursuit of nuclear weapons can not bring it security.

The DPRK will only show strength and find security by abiding by international law, living up to its obligations, and to win the trust of its neighbors, the statement added.

Japan says rocket falls after lift-off

Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said Friday the rocket that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched on Friday morning fell into sea after flying for more than a minute.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters at an emergency press conference Friday morning that Japan has suffered "no impact of falling objects" from the launch, and the government will hold a meeting to discuss the situation immediately.

"We believe there has been no impact of falling objects" on Japan, Fujimura said at the press conference after it confirmed the launch, and said, "I would like the public to stay calm."

The rocket may have split into 4 parts which fell into the Yellow Sea after reaching 120 km high, local media reported.

But there have been no reports of damage in Japan after the DPRK rocket launch, said Fujimura.

Japan had stayed alert over DPRK's planned rocket launch on Friday.It was the second day of a five-day window Pyongyang had planned for the launch.

The Japanese Self-Defense Forces have been on standby since Thursday, prior to DPRK's indicated time window for the launch from 7 am to noon from Thursday to next Monday.

So far, the DPRK has neither confirmed nor denied the launch.