In a provocative act that angered many countries including the United States, North Korea launched a long-range rocket, South Korea’s defense ministry said. But officials said the rocket broke apart before entering the earth’s atmosphere.
The launch had been timed to coincide with the 100th birthday celebration of the isolated and impoverished state’s leader and founder, Kim Il-sung, and came after a food aid deal with the United States that had hinted at an easing of tensions on the world’s most militarized border.
The Unha 3 long range missile flight path took it over the border between the Korean peninsula and China, before coming apart over the Pacific Ocean.
The White House reacted with a statement on Thursday saying, “the failed launch threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments.”