N Korea launches rocket – US official

Rappler.com
(UPDATED) CNN: rocket launch failed, broke apart shortly after take-off

WASHINGTON, United States of America (UPDATED) – A US official confirmed North Korea had launched a long-range rocket Thursday (Friday morning in Manila) despite warnings from major powers that the move would trigger international sanctions.

“I can confirm they’ve carried out a launch,”the US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

But CNN, quoting US officials, said the long-range rocket appears to have broken apart in flight soon after launch.

Citing experts, CNN also said that the rocket broke apart within earth’s atmosphere and not into space. The experts are saying it broke apart quickly after leaving the launch pad.

Japan also said the North Korean ‘flying object’ fell into the ocean, according to AFP.

The North Koreans have said the rocket was being used to launch a weather satellite into orbit.

The Japanese government had threatened to shoot down the rocket if it appeared to be threatening its territory.

The UN Security Council will meet in emergency session on Friday to discuss the situation in North Korea after Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket, a UN diplomat said Thursday.

The diplomat told AFP the 15-member Council would meet “to decide its next step” following the launch, which the United States and several other nations have claimed is in fact a disguised missile test.

Countries including the United States and South Korea see the launch as a cover for a ballistic missile test. International leaders had urged North Korea to cancel the launch, but Pyongyang refused to back down, insisting the operation is for peaceful purposes. – with reports from Agence France Presse