North Korean test missile explodes on launch

Boeing WC-135 Constant Phoenix

North Korea has stated that it is prepared to respond in turn.

The as yet unidentified missile exploded on launch from a base in Sinpo, a city on the country's east coast, on Sunday, US military officials said.

North Korea's vice foreign minister Han Song Ryol told The Associated Press on Friday that "Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words".

North Korea tried and failed to launch a test missile on Sunday, hours after showing off its latest military hardware at a Pyongyang parade.

Vice President Mike Pence is now traveling to the South Korean capital of Seoul as part of his schedule 10-day Asian swing next week, and is still en route despite the failed missile test.

President Donald Trump was uncharacteristically quiet about the failed launch. "We have no further comment".

The parade, which showed off advances in missile technology, was attended by North Korea's current leader Kim Jung Un, Sung's grandson. This matters because while North Korea regularly launches short-range missiles, it is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target USA troops in Asia and, eventually, the US mainland.

Speculation that Pyongyang could conduct a sixth blast in the coming days to coincide with the anniversary has reached fever pitch, with specialist USA website 38North describing its Punggye-ri test site as "primed and ready" and White House officials saying military options were "already being assessed". This would allow North Korea to prevent its limited number of ICBM-capable launcher trucks from being damaged during launches and also make the missiles harder to detect after they're fired, he said.

North Korea's weapons of war rolled through Pyongyang on Saturday and a senior figure in the regime said it could "beat down enemies with the power of nuclear justice", as leader Kim Jong-Un mounted a spectacular show of strength.

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The Pentagon and South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it wasn't immediately clear what type of missile was involved.

The launch also comes amid an alarming escalation of tensions along the Korean peninsula, after North Korea seemed to suggest an impending nuclear test.

U.S. military officials don't believe the missile had intercontinental capabilities, a United States defense official told CNN.

In response to this test, South Korea's Blue House told NK News that the National Security Council (NSC) will host an emergency meeting at 09:30 AM KST.

A Pence spokesmen said the vice president's most important message to the South Koreans was to reaffirm the United States' "ironclad" commitment to the South's defense in the face of North Korean aggression.

Earlier this week, as tensions worsened between Washington and Pyongyang, Trump ordered a USA naval strike group headed by the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula in show of force.

Over the past three years, a covert war over the missile program has broken out between North Korea and the United States. Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile from the same region earlier this month. China is North Korea's only major ally.

That missile flew about 60 km (40 miles) but what US officials said appeared to be a liquid-fuelled, extended-range Scud missile only travelled a fraction of its range before spinning out of control.

Recently the USA began installing a missile defense system in South Korea that has produced protests from China, which sees North Korea as a useful buffer between it and US ally South Korea.

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