WASHINGTON (December 12, 2012)--North Korea's launch of a long-range ballistic missile was a "highly provocative act that threatens regional security,” the White House said.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor called the launch "another example of North Korea's pattern of irresponsible behavior."
In a statement released late Tuesday, Vietor says the U.S. "remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations."
The United Nations, the U.S., South Korea and others consider the launch to be a cover for a test of technology for missiles that could be used to strike another nation with a nuclear warhead.
Vietor said the U.S. will work with other nations and the U.N Security Council "to pursue appropriate action" against North Korea.
NORAD officials said U.S. missile warning systems detected and tracked the launch at 6:49 p.m. CST Tuesday.
The missile was tracked in a southerly direction.
NORAD said initial indications were that the first stage of the rocket fell into the Yellow Sea and that the second stage fell into the Philippine Sea.
"Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit. At no time was the missile or the resultant debris a threat to North America,” a release from NORAD said.