Mitt Romney said the launch of a long-range rocket by North Korea presented "a clear and growing threat to the United States" and underscores the "incompetence" of the Obama administration in a statement late Thursday night.

The launch of the long-range rocket failed, breaking into pieces just a minute after launch and falling into the sea.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the attempted North Korean missile launch," Romney 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."

Romney went on to say President Obama had "no effective response" for a "clear and growing threat to the United States."

"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 naïve as it was short-lived," Romney said. "At the same time, he has cut critical U.S. missile defense programs and continues to underfund them. This incompetence from the Obama Administration has emboldened the North Korean regime and undermined the security of the United States and our allies."

The White House strongly condemned North Korea's decision to launch the rocket in a statement Friday night.

"While this action is not surprising given North Korea's pattern of aggressive behavior, any missile activity by North Korea is of concern to the international community," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement Thursday.

Carney went on to say the launch "threatens regional security and violates international law," and said that while Obama will continue to "engage constructively" with North Korea, he urged the country to "live up to its own 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," Carney said. "North Korea's long-standing development of missiles and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not brought it security — and never will."

Romney has been highly critical of the president's foreign policy on the campaign trail, saying he would increase defense spending — whereas Obama has suggested cuts — and expand the size of the Navy.

"If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your president," Romney said during a speech in South Carolina last year. "You have that president today."