The mysterious country were accused of testing banned long-range missile technology, but reports from Pyongyang say that they were trying to launch a satellite into orbit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the nation’s founder Kim Il-sung.
Reports from Pyongyang say that the rocket broke up shortly after launch.
Both South Korea and Japan had threatened to shoot down the rocket if it threatened their territories, as its flight path had taken it south, to the west of the Korean peninsula between Japan and the Philippines.
The White House has condemned the launch, while the UN is set to meet to discuss the actions later today. Meanwhile China, North Korea’s closest ally, has called for calm on the issue.
State-run North Korean television, normally very secretive in military issues, also announced the rocket’s failure within a few hours. A news reporter announced, "The Earth observation satellite failed to enter its preset orbit. Scientists, technicians and experts are now looking into the cause of the failure.”
Despite the failure, the US made the following statement about the launch: “Despite the failure of its attempted missile launch, North Korea's provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments."
In addition to the attempted launch, earlier this week South Korea claimed that their neighbours have plans underway for a third successive nuclear test.