Pyongyang, April 13 (IANS) North Korea launched a long-range rocket into orbit Friday in defiance of warnings from the international community, reported CNN citing two US officials.
International leaders had urged North Korea to cancel the launch, but Pyongyang refused to back down, stating the operation is for peaceful purposes.
The North Koreans have said the rocket was needed to launch a weather satellite into orbit.
According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, North Korea Friday launched its long-range rocket, reported RIA Novosti.
"We're now tracking the flight path," the report quoted an official who declined being identified as saying.
Countries including the US and South Korea see the North Korea's rocket launch as a cover for a ballistic missile test.
Japan, which had threatened to shoot down the rocket if it appeared to be threatening its territory, had called for restraint. On Thursday, the country's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said: "We are fully prepared to deal with any contingency," Kyodo news agency reported.
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