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21:22 GMT +3 hours18 December 2014
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White House Blasts N.Korea Rocket Launch

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The White House blasted on Friday the launch of a long-range rocket by North Korea.

The White House blasted on Friday the launch of a long-range rocket by North Korea.

“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,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

North Korea on Friday launched the Unha-3 rocket, but the three-stage craft apparently broke apart shortly after blastoff, according to reports by U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials.

“While this action is not surprising given North Korea’s pattern of aggressive behavior, any missile activity by North Korea is of concern to the international community,” Carney said.

“The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations, and is fully committed to the security of our allies in the region,” he said.

Prior to the launch, North Korea said the rocket would put a weather satellite into orbit to mark the 100th anniversary of the country's founder, Kim Il-sung. It also said the launch was in compliance with the Space Treaty, which guarantees every state the right to carry out space programs.

But the international community suspects the rocket is part of a ballistic missile program.

The G8 foreign ministers had urged North Korea to honor its commitments and cancel the launch of its rocket.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday threatened North Korea with possible sanctions.

The United States, Japan and South Korea consider the launch as being in contravention of international obligations under UN Resolution 1718 and 1874, forbidding North Korea from carrying out ballistic missile test launches.

Under a deal signed in February, Pyongyang agreed to suspend uranium enrichment, as well as nuclear and long-range missile tests in return for U.S. food aid.