North Korea on Friday launched a long-range rocket, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
“We're now tracking the flight path,” Yonhap quoted an unnamed official as saying.
Two U.S. officials confirmed the launch, CNN reported.
Prior to the blastoff, North Korea said the rocket would put a weather satellite into orbit to mark the 100th anniversary of the country's founder, Kim Il-sung. It also said the launch was in compliance with the Space Treaty, which guarantees every state the right to carry out space programs.
But the international community suspects the rocket is part of a ballistic missile program.
Prior to the launch, the G8 foreign ministers urged North Korea to honor its commitments and cancel the launch of its rocket.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday “there is no doubt that this [launch] would use ballistic missile technology.”
She also threatened North Korea with possible sanctions. “If Pyongyang goes forward [in launching the rocket] we will all be back in the Security Council to take further action,” she said at a news conference.
The United States, Japan and South Korea consider the launch as being in contravention of international obligations under UN Resolution 1718 and 1874, forbidding North Korea from carrying out ballistic missile test launches.
Under a deal signed in February, Pyongyang agreed to suspend uranium enrichment, as well as nuclear and long-range missile tests in return for U.S. food aid.