Taipei, April 13 (CNA)
North Korea's rocket launch failed and did not cause any damage to neighboring countries, Defense Ministry spokesman Luo Shou-he said Friday.
Defying international opposition, North Korea launched a long-range rocket at 6:39 a.m. but the "flying object" broke apart a few minutes after the launch and crashed into the sea, Luo said.
The Taiwan military had been closely monitoring the whole process leading up to the launch of the "Unha-3" (Galaxy-3) long-range rocket from North Korea's west coast in the hamlet of Tongchang-ri and will continue to follow developments and gather intelligence, Luo said.
Asked whether Taiwan's Patriot anti-missile systems were on standby to respond to the North Korean rocket launch, Luo said cryptically that the emergency response task force had completed its mission.
According to foreign wire service reports, it was North Korea's third failed attempt to launch a long-range rocket into orbit.
An AP report cited the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command as saying that the first rocket stage fell to the Yellow Sea and that the remaining stages failed.
Although North Korea said that the rocket was carrying a weather observation satellite into orbit for a peaceful mission, the United States and Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea believed it was a disguised test of a long-range missile.
They said the move was highly provocative and violated United Nations security rules and international law.
(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Sofia Wu)