North Korea found itself front and center in the international community when it launched a long-range missile Friday morning, local time.

Despite the country's reported efforts, officials in the US claim the launch failed because the rocket broke before leaving the Earth's atmosphere.

After breaking apart, the missile allegedly crashed into the sea.

"Despite the failure of its attempted missile launch, North Korea's provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

Japan backed the United States' claim that the launch did not succeed. The country's defense minister, Naoki Tanaka said, "We have confirmed that a certain flying object has been launched and fell after flying for just over a minute."

If the attempt to launch the missile is indeed true, North Korea could be in serious trouble, with the United Nations Security Council scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the matter.

North Korea's reported launch would mark the third failed attempt since 1998. On two previous occasions the country has claimed it has tried to send a weather satellite into space. Several pundits, however, believe the country is more interested in testing missiles.

[Yahoo!]