North Korea's rocket launch ends in failure: South Korea

SEOUL Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:54pm EDT

1 of 9. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) waves during the Fourth Conference of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang April 11, 2012, and released on April 12, 2012. WPK named Kim as 'first secretary,' on Wednesday, the official KCNA news agency said.

Credit: Reuters/KCNA

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea's much hyped long-range rocket launch on Friday ended in apparent failure, South Korean officials said, dealing a blow to the prestige of the reclusive and impoverished state that defied international pressure to push ahead with the plan.

North Korea said it wanted the Unha-3 rocket to put a weather satellite into orbit, although critics believed it was designed to enhance the capacity of North Korea to design a ballistic missile deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting the continental United States.

A spokesman for the Defense Ministry in Seoul told journalists that the rocket had broken up and crashed into the sea a few minutes after launch.

Officials from Japan confirmed the mission had failed, while ABC News cited U.S. officials saying it had failed, although there was no immediate indication of where it fell.

The rocket's flight was set to take it over a sea separating the Korean peninsula, with an eventual launch of a third stage of the rocket in seas near the Philippines that would have put the satellite into orbit.

This was North Korea's second consecutive failure to get a satellite into orbit, although it claimed success with a 2009 launch and there was no comment on the launch from North Korea's official media.

The Unha-3 rocket took off from a new launch site on the west coast of North Korea, near the Chinese border.

The launch had been timed to coincide with the 100th birthday celebrations of the isolated and impoverished state's founder, Kim Il-sung, and came after a food aid deal with the United States had hinted at an easing of tensions on the world's most militarized border.

(Additional reporting by TOKYO newsroom; Writing by David Chance and Jonathan Hopfner; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (107)
AlkalineState wrote:
“North Korea launches hundred-billion dollar rocket into sea. Forgets to plant rice.”

Apr 12, 2012 7:28pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
NickBright wrote:
The rocket was carrying a Weather Satellite, not a nuclear warhead. The media needs to relax and stop anchoring N.Korea as an evil state, especially considering its original ruler has passed. They have the right to this act, and we have no right to condemn this.

Apr 12, 2012 7:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
mpcope wrote:
Don’t any of you worry. Our pussy-assed LOTUS has it all under control.

Apr 12, 2012 7:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures