Defying international pressure, North Korea launched a long range missile on Friday, but U.S. officials claim that the launch was a failure and that the missile fell within 90 seconds of being launched.

The launch of the three-stage Unha-3 rocket took place at 7:39 A.M. local time, according to South Korean officials. Pyongyang has claimed that the launch was meant to place a communications satellite in space, but the U.S., Japan, South Korea and other nations view it as part of North Korea's attempt to advance its military ballistic missile capacity.

Officials in New York said that the UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Friday in order to discuss the North Korean launch. Washington is lobbying both Moscow and China to achieve a quick censure of Pyongyang and possibly further sanctions against the regime.

Western intelligence sources have said that the North Korean missile program is being carried out in close collaboration with Iran.