(CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney condemned the launch of a long-range rocket by North Korea, saying it puts the region at risk and highlights the “incompetence” of the Obama administration.
Romney's statement came a few hours after U.S. officials said the rocket was launched Thursday and broke apart before escaping the earth's atmosphere and falling into the sea.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the attempted North Korean missile launch," he said.
"Although the missile test failed, Pyongyang's action is another blatant violation of unanimous U.N. Security Council resolutions and demonstrates once again that Pyongyang is committed to developing long-range missiles with the potential of carrying nuclear weapons."
North Korea presents "a clear and growing threat to the United States," he said, arguing the Obama administration's response has been ineffective.
The White House said the failed launch threatens regional security, violates international law and reneges on North Korea’s recent commitments.
"North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts, and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry,” the White House said in a statement.
Romney recently criticized Obama for an open mic comment to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Romney said Russia is the United States' "No. 1 geopolitical foe," a comment that prompted a sharp response from the Russian leader.
The GOP candidate and former Massachusetts governor has said he would invest more in the U.S. military, including shipbuilding for the Navy.