North Korea failed to launch another medium-range ballistic missile Thursday evening, its second attempt of the day after an earlier test also ended in failure, according to South Korean military sources cited by Yonhap news agency.
The first rocket crashed "a few seconds" after being launched at the country's east coast earlier Thursday, the sources said, and the second rocket likely blew up midflight.
The tests may have involved a mid-range Musudan missile, which Pyongyang has tested before and which can reach a distance of 3,000-4,000 kilometres.
In New York, the UN Security Council held a briefing at the request of the United States to discuss the launches.
The council was preparing a statement condemning the missile tests, which are forbidden under UN sanctions. However, it was unclear when the condemnation would be issued after China asked for more time to consider the statement, diplomats said.
"We are looking at a response," said Liu Jieyi, Chinese ambassador to the UN.
Motohide Yoshikawa, Japanese UN ambassador, condemned the launches as "a threat to Japan's national security" and said that all 15 council members were unanimous in their condemnation of the tests.
Tensions are high on the Korean peninsula, as Pyongyang and Seoul exchange accusations over the North's recent nuclear and missile tests, the resulting international sanctions, and the South's annual military manoeuvres with the United States.