The highly touted launch of the Unha-3 rocket, lauded by North Korea as a symbol of its advanced technology, lived up to its hype by its catastrophic failure after launch at 0739 Friday morning (Korea time), apparently during separation of the first stage at about 90 seconds into its flight. Unidentified US defense officials reported that US assets, along with other countries in the area including South Korea and Japan, tracked the launch and noted that the “rocket flared brightly and apparently exploded”. Portions of the rocket barely made it past Jeju (Cheju) Island to the immediate southwest of the South Korean coast.
Kim Jong Un and his generals penuried their people for this enormous boondoggle: $850 million in one of the most destitute (and deliberately so) countries in the world, in what amounted to a gargantuan one-shot firework for the 100th birthday of the half-country's Stalinist founder, Kim Il Sung.
This is a major positive for the Obama administration, which threatened a strongly worded retort in the event of a launch. They can now return to their normal stance of ignoring the multi-layered threat from the DPRK in other areas.
There has been no statement yet from the DPRK or Jimmy Carter.