North Korean Satellite Did Not Reach Orbit

South Korea

This undated black-and-white handout image provided by DigitalGlobe shows a aerial view of a North Korean rocket launch site. North Korea is loading a Taepodong rocket on its east coast launch pad in anticipation of the launch of a communications satellite early next month, U.S. officials say. (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe)

South Korea's presidential office says North Korea's satellite did not reach orbit as the communist nation claims.

North Korea earlier claimed success in launching a communication satellite into space. State-run media said Sunday that the satellite was already transmitting data and patriotic odes to leader Kim Jong Il and national founder Kim Il Sung.

North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command officials also acknowledged Sundaythat North Korea launched a Taepo Dong 2 missile Saturday night which passed over the Sea of Japan 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.

No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan.

NORAD and USNORTHCOM assessed the space launch vehicle as not a threat to North America or Hawaii and took no action in response to this launch.

President Barack Obama and Japanese leader Taro Aso have called the launch a provocative move that violates a U.N. Security Council resolution barring North Korea from ballistic missile-related activities. A Security Council session is set for Sunday afternoon in New York.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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