North Korea attempted to launch an “unidentified” missile on Sunday, but it is believed to have failed, South Korea’s military has said.
A US military spokesman said the missile “blew up almost immediately”.
US Navy Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for US Pacific Command, said it detected and tracked what it assessed to be a North Korean ballistic missile launch at 11:21 a.m. Hawaii time (2121 GMT) “The missile blew up almost immediately,” Commander Benham said. “The type of missile is still being assessed.”
The attempt, which was said to be near Sinpo on the country’s east coast, is the site of a North Korean submarine base, and is where the country has previously tested submarine-launched ballistic missiles it is developing.
The launch comes one day after a military parade in Pyongyang unveiled what are thought to be new inter-continental ballistic missiles as well as new submarine-launched missiles.
The parade marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of the state’s founder, and came as tensions between North Korea and the US sparked fears of nuclear war.
Analysts had already predicted that a major new missile launch could be imminent, after US President Donald Trump vowed to “properly deal with North Korea”, if the Chinese was unable to rein in its ally. US Vice President Mike Pence, who is en route to Seoul, in South Korea, has been briefed on the attempted missile launch and has been in touch with President Trump, Reuters reports.
Mr Trump described the US nuclear-powered warships heading towards the region as an “armada” last week, while Mr Pence warned that a policy of “strategic patience” with North Korea is over.
The country has warned of a nuclear attack on the US if provoked, however, there is no evidence the country has succeeded in creating a nuclear warhead that could be fired on a long-range missile.
A senior North Korean official addressing crowds at the military parade on Saturday vowed that Mr Trump’s “reckless provocation” could be met with an “annihilating strike” using nuclear weapons.
China’s foreign minister urged both the US and North Korea to de-escalate the situation before it gets to an “irreversible and unmanageable stage” on Friday, calling on both sides to “refrain from provoking and threatening each other”.
“If a war occurs, the result is a situation in which everybody loses and there can be no winner,” Wang Yi warned.