North Korea’s controversial rocket launch, regarded by many to be a test of long-range missile technology, has ended in failure.

The US said that the rocket flew for a short amount of time before crashing into waters off the Korean peninsula, and North Korean scientists are assessing the cause of the failure.

Although North Korea remained adamant that the launch was an attempt to put a satellite into orbit to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, nations including the US, South Korea and Japan continued to accuse the nation of a disguised test of missile technology currently banned under UN resolution.

South Korean officials allege that the Unha-3 rocket took off at approximately 22:39 GMT on Thursday April 12 with an intended flight path to the south, between Japan and the Philippines.

The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) said, "Initial indications are that the first stage of the missile fell into the sea 165km west of Seoul, South Korea."

"The remaining stages were assessed to have failed and no debris fell on land. At no time were the missile of the resultant debris a threat."

Both Japan and South Korea had threatened to shoot the rocket down had it threatened their territory, and the UN Security Council is scheduled to meet in order to discuss the launch, with China calling for calm and restraint.