North Korea on Friday launched a long-range rocket, Seoul's Yonhap news agency said, citing a South Korean government source.
"North Korea launched a long-range rocket and we're tracking its trajectory," the source said.
North Korea has previously said the rocket will place a satellite in orbit for peaceful research purposes, but Western critics see the launch as a thinly veiled ballistic missile test, banned by United Nations resolutions.
North Korean launches long-range missile; launch fails
A U.S. official has confirmed that a North Korean long-range missile broke apart midair after launch, ABC News reports. U.S. officials say they believe the missile fell apart within the Earth's atmosphere before crashing into the sea.
The U.N. Security Council will meet Friday to discuss a response to the North's attempted launch.
South Korea's Defense Ministry first reported the launch, which is seen as defying international warnings and widely viewed as a provocation from the rogue nation.
Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters in a nationally televised news conference that the rocket was fired at 7:39 a.m.
The launch comes after weeks of speculation regarding the possible launch, which North Korea's government says is being done to send a weather satellite into orbit. If true, it would represent the third failed attempt by North Korea to send a satellite into space since 1998.
North Korea says it was timing the launch to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the country's former leader, Kim Il Sung, which they are celebrating Sunday
However, most observers say the launch is actually tied to the country's missile program. Japan has already given its military clearance to shoot-down the rocket if it crosses into Japanese airspace.
CNN, MSNBC and the AP have confirmed the launch. A White House statement is expected to be issued shortly.
There was no word from Pyongyang about the launch.