Seoul, South Korea (CNN)North Korea has launched a long-range "missile," a South Korean defense ministry official said Sunday, in defiance of U.N. sanctions and warnings from neighboring nations.
Though North Korea had said it planned to put a satellite into orbit, the launch was viewed by other nations, such as Japan and South Korea, as a front for a ballistic missile test.
South Korea said the launch was at 9:30 a.m. local time and the rocket headed south.
A senior U.S. defense official said he can "confirm that we have detected a missile launch from North Korea. Based upon its trajectory as we are tracking it, it does not pose a threat to the U.S. or our allies. We will have more updates soon."
The Japanese Prime Minister's office said via Twitter that North Korea's "satellite" had been launched toward the Okinawa region. "We will update as soon as new information comes in," the Prime Minister's office said.
"Forcing the launch is a clear violation against the [United Nations Security Council] resolution and a serious provocation against the security to our country," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday.
U.S. officials have said the same type of rocket used to launch the satellite could deliver a nuclear warhead.