US Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Thursday denounced the launch by North Korea of a long-range rocket and said it underscored the weakness of President Barack Obama.
"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the attempted North Korean missile launch," Romney said in a statement after news of the launch, which Washington, Seoul and Tokyo said appeared to have failed.
"Although the missile test failed, Pyongyang's action is another blatant violation of unanimous UN Security Council resolutions and demonstrates once again that Pyongyang is committed to developing long-range missiles with the potential of carrying nuclear weapons."
Romney said the weapons program "poses a clear and growing threat to the United States, one for which President Obama has no effective response."
"Instead of approaching Pyongyang from a position of strength, President Obama sought to appease the regime with a food-aid deal that proved to be as naive as it was short-lived."
The US scheme to send food aid to the nuclear-armed North's impoverished population was suspended after the North's announcement that it would launch the rocket, which Washington said proved Pyongyang could not be trusted.
North Korea has said the rocket would 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.