WASHINGTON (RNN) – Officials with the North Korean government have confirmed the rocket Kwangmyongsong-3 launched Thursday "failed."
The failure occurred in flight, according to reports on CNN. Shortly after the launch, Japan threatened to shoot down the rocket if it threatened its territory.
South Korean Defense Ministry Spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters in a nationally televised news conference that the rocket was fired at 7:39 a.m. local time.
The U.N. Security Council will meet on Friday in an emergency meeting to determine its response to the failed launch. An unnamed U.S. official said the rocket broke apart "within the Earth's atmosphere," CNN reported.
In a statement, NORAD said the first stage of the missile fell into the sea about 100 miles west of Seoul, South Korea and that the remaining stages failed, with no debris falling on land.
"At no time were the missile or the resultant debris a threat," the statement read.
Several countries, including the U.S., had urged North Korea to cancel the launch, CNN reported, but Pyongyang "refused to back down," claiming a "sovereign right" to develop its space program.
The White House released a statement saying: "Despite the failure of missile launch, N.Korea's provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law."
The White House press secretary, in a statement, said the failed launch "threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments."
The Associated Press reported the rocket launch will halt planned U.S. food aid to the country.
North Korea had announced it was planning the launch of an observation satellite to celebrate Sunday's centennial of the birth of Kim II Sung, the country's late founder.
According to the country's space officials, the satellite was meant to study crops and weather patterns.
The admission of the rockets failure by the government came as a surprise to many considering the county's usually strict policy on information control.
According to AP, this is North Korea's third attempt to send a satellite into space since 1998.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.