North Korea rocket launch fails, S. Korea, Japan officials sayAgence France-Presse
SEOUL — North Korea on Friday launched a long-range rocket, South Korea’s defense ministry and US officials said, with Japan and South Korea saying that the launch appeared to have failed.
South Korean defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told reporters the rocket fired by North Korea on Friday disintegrated shortly after blastoff.
“A few minutes after the launch, the rocket disintegrated into several pieces and lost its altitude,” he said.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK quoted a defense ministry source as saying the rocket went up to 400,000 feet (120 kilometers) before splitting into four pieces and falling into the Yellow Sea west of the Korean Peninsula.
“North Korea launched a long-range rocket at 07:39 a.m. (2239 GMT Thursday),” South Korea said.
Japananese authorities said that the North Korean “flying object” had fallen into the ocean.
Immediately after the launch, South Korea issued an order urging residents near the inter-Korean border to seek shelter to protect themselves from any debris that might fall from the rocket, Yonhap said.
North Korea has previously said the rocket will place a satellite in orbit for peaceful research purposes, but Western critics see the launch as a thinly veiled ballistic missile test, banned by United Nations resolutions.
In the Philippines, which set up contingency measures in anticipation of the rocket debris that may fall in the northern part of the country, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Benito Ramos said the rocket fell into the Yellow Sea near China five minutes after the launch.
Ramos said he received the text message from Defense Secretary Voltair Gazmin, United Nations Naval attache.
“We are still getting other details,” Ramos said. Matikas Santos, INQUIRER.net
Originally posted: 7:44 am | Friday, April 13th, 2012