A North Korean missile "Blew up almost immediately" on its test launch on Sunday, the U.S. Pacific Command said, hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was due in the South for talks on the North's increasingly defiant arms program.
"The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from near the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed," the South's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
The U.S. Pacific Command said the missile "Blew up almost immediately," adding the type of missile was being analysed.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited an unnamed South Korean intelligence source as saying the missile appeared to have not flown far from its land-based launch site.
Sinpo, where the launch took place, is the site of a North Korean submarine base and where the North has tested the submarine-launched ballistic missile it is developing.
"This launch can possibly be a test for a new type of missile or an upgrade," Kim added.
Tension had escalated sharply in the region amid concerns that the North may conduct a sixth nuclear test or a ballistic missile test launch around the April 15 anniversary it calls the "Day of the Sun.".
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