US and South Korea condemn Pyongyang's failed missile launch

The US and South Korea have condemned Saturday's failed missile launch by North Korea near the north-western city of Kusong.

North Korea fired what was presumed to be a Musudan missile at 0333 GMT on Saturday which failed immediately after launch, according to a statement from the Pentagon.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff also confirmed and condemned the launch early Sunday, the country's Yonhap news agency reported.

"The military maintains heightened vigilance against any provocations by the North," the country said.

The missile launch was first noted by US authorities, although a reason for the rocket failure has not yet been given.

"We strongly condemn this and North Korea's other recent missile tests, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology," Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

North Korea is under heavy UN sanctions for its pursuit of a nuclear weapons programme, primarily because its neighbours and key world powers worry that the regime would be prone to use such weapons offensively.

Pyongyang has rattled nerves in the region recently, first with a powerful nuclear test and then with the test of a rocket for launching satellites that some say could also be used for intercontinental nuclear missiles.

The nuclear test on September 9 was the country's fifth nuclear test overall and its second this year.

Last update: Sun, 16/10/2016 - 13:03

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