An attempt by North Korea to launch a ballistic missile from its east coast Friday apparently failed, a spokesman for South Korea's Defence Ministry said.
It was identified as a Musudan medium-range missile, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
"North Korea seems to have tried a missile launch from the East Sea area in the early morning today, but it is presumed to have failed," the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
The missile deviated from its normal trajectory, the JCS said.
The launch was the first test firing of a Musudan missile, the report said.
The missile reportedly has a range of 3,000-4,000 kilometres, putting the US military installations on Guam in the Pacific Ocean within striking distance, the report said.
The White House "strongly" condemned the launch, noting that it violated UN Security Council resolutions that ban North Korea from firing ballistic missiles.
Spokesman Josh Earnest said in recent months the US has bolstered missile defence capabilities in the region "in response to this threat," including naval deployments as well as assets to Alaska "to ensure that the US homeland remains safe."
The US would work with the international community "to make clear that North Korea faces the prospect of even further isolation as a result of their provocative acts," Earnest said.
Seoul had been expecting Pyongyang to stage military events to coincide with the anniversary of the birth of the late founder and leader of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, that falls Friday.
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