North Korea has attempted to launch a rocket – ostensibly to send a weather satellite into orbit – as it had said it would do.
But South Korea says the rocket broke up within minutes and crashed into the sea.
Pyongyang had heralded the launch as part of centenary celebrations for the birth of the reclusive state’s founding father, Kim Il-sung.
The plans drew international criticism and sabotaged a US food aid programme, and the UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting today to discuss a response to developments.
Japan had warned it would shoot the rocket down should it threaten its territory.
Critics fear the real reason behind the launch is to enhance Pyongyang’s ability to build an intercontinental ballistic missile.