The U.S. military said Sunday the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) failed to put a satellite into orbit.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed the launch in a news briefing, saying Pyongyang "launched a Taepodong 2 missile at 1030 p.m. EDT Saturday which passed over the Sea of Japan/East Sea and the nation of Japan."
"Stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan. The remaining stages along with the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean," the command said, adding "No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan."
South Korean Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee also said the DPRK failed to send a satellite into orbit.
Earlier in the day, the DPRK's official news agency KCNA said the "Kwangmyongsong-2" communications satellite was successfully put into orbit.
The KCNA added that the launch had a "decisive meaning" for the country in advancing its work of space exploration for peaceful purposes and solving technological problems to test-fire practical satellite in the future.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said Japan is yet to confirm whether the rocket carried a ballistic missile or a communications satellite.
No damage to Japanese territory has been reported as a result of the launch and nothing has fallen on Japan so far, Kyodo news agency quoted the top Japanese government spokesman as saying.
(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2009)