White House says NK missile a "provocative" act

South Korean Army soldiers watch a TV news program which shows North Korea's Unha-3 rocket at Seoul train station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, April 9, 2012. North Korean space officials moved all three stages of the long-range rocket into position for a controversial launch, vowing Sunday to push ahead with their plan in defiance of international warnings against violating a ban on missile activity. AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Seoul, South Korea
AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

(CBS News) The White House responded to North Korea's launch of a long-range missile, calling it "not surprising" but "provocative" and a threat to national security.

"North Korea's provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments," the statement said. "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."

CBS News has confirmed that the missile, which was launched at 7:39 a.m. in North Korea, broke up 90 seconds after launch. There are no reports of debris landing in populated areas.

The United Nations Security Council will meet to discuss the North Korea missile launch on Friday.

South Korea, which neighbors the isolated nation on the Korean peninsula, responded quickly and strongly.

"The North Korea rocket launch is a clear provocation and a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions which prohibit this activity," Kap-soo Rim, First Secretary of the Republic of Korea Mission to the U.N. told CBS News.

"The Security Council should act decisively, and strongly," Rim said, "the Ambassador is waiting for instructions from Seoul."

South Korea: North's launch "failure"

With the launch, North Korea risks further isolation, including the end of U.S. provided-food for the impoverished nation.

"North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts, and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry," the Obama administration wrote in a statement.

CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst Pamela Falk said North Korea's action is an "anticipated affront to the international community and marks the probable end of a disarmament for food agreement with the United States, but it is unlikely to provoke more than a statement of alarm from the U.N. in the short term, and perhaps more extensive sanctions in the long term."

North Korean officials previously said they planned to launch a satellite to celebrate the 100 birthday of the late Kim Il Sung, who founded the isolated nation.

The secretive country defied warnings by the United States, Japan and others who said they would consider a missile launch a hostile act.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that the U.S. would respond in an "appropriate" manner if the missile is launched.

"Let me make absolutely clear that any launch by North Korea would be a serious clear violation of their obligations under already existing U.N. Security Council resolutions."

This is the first major action with international consequences of new leader Kim Jong Un, the son of the late Kim Jong Il. 

Clinton warns North Korea of rocket launch

North Korea missile ready for launch



  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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