South Korea says a missile test by North Korea off its east coast did not launch as planned. Earlier this month, Pyongyang launched four ballistic missiles, three of which landed in waters off Japan.
A new North Korean missile test failed on Wednesday, the South’s defense ministry said.
“South Korea and the United States are aware of the North Korean missile launch,” said a spokesman for Seoul’s defense ministry, adding they “suspect it was a failure.”
The ministry did not identify the type of missile used in the test.
Japanese Kyodo news service, citing an unidentified government source, said the North might have launched several missiles on Wednesday morning.
The US military later gave more details referring to an air field on North Korea’s east coast.
“US Pacific Command detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch attempt … in the vicinity of Kalma,” Commander Dave Benham said in a statement.
“A missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch,” Benham said, adding that work was being carried out on a more detailed assessment.
The reported failure happened as US and South Korean troops were conducting annual military drills that Pyongyang has called an invasion rehearsal.
The test came two weeks after Pyongyang launched four rockets that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) on average, in what it dubbed a drill for an attack on US bases in Japan.
Earlier this week, American officials said they expected another North Korean missile launch in the next few days.
The US military increased its surveillance over the North, they said, and had detected a North Korean missile launcher being moved, as well as the construction of VIP seating in the coast town of Wonsan.
Nuclear-armed North Korea remains under several sets of United Nations sanctions over its atomic and ballistic missile programmes.
It plans to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with an atomic warhead.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned Pyongyang that military action was an “option on the table” to bring the rogue state into line, while China has insisted on diplomacy to resolve the stand-off.