World condemns North Korea's failed rocket launch

The South Korean government strongly condemned Pyongyang's rocket launch as it scrambled to put in place emergency measures on Friday.

"North Korea's launch is a clear violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1874 that bans any launches using ballistic missile technologies, and a provocative act that threatens the peace and safety of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia," Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Sung-hwan said.

"The government strongly denounces North Korea's new leadership's decision to push ahead despite the international community's unanimous calls to cancel the launch. North Korea will have to take due responsibility."

Kim also said that Seoul is drawing up a comprehensive plan for responding to further provocations from North Korea, and to nuclear and missile threats.

At 7:39 a.m. on Friday, North Korea launched a long-range rocket carrying a small satellite from the Dongchang-ri launch facility in North Pyongan Province.

The rocket, however, failed within two minutes of the launch, and broke up into about 20 pieces before falling into the West Sea between 100 kilometers and 150 kilometers west of Gunsan, North Jeolla Province.

Soon after the rocket was detected by the South Korean destroyer Sejong the Great, various government organs called emergency meetings.

At 9 a.m. President Lee Myung-bak called a meeting of security and foreign affairs ministers, while the military held a meeting of the emergency management committee.

South Korean and US militaries also met to discuss the developments.

"This is a provocation not only to South Korea but to the international community. It is also a military threat to South Korea. I think that there needs to be appropriate international-level restraints," Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-jin said at a meeting with US officials including US Forces Korea commander General James Thurman.

Other government organizations without direct security responsibilities also convened meetings and introduced measures in response to the launch.

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