North Korea conducted a missile test off its east coast on Friday morning, but the launch appears to have failed, say US and South Korean officials.
The launch coincided with the birthday of North Korea’s founding leader, Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.
The South’s officials said it was not immediately clear what type of missile had been launched, nor its range.
The test comes amid particularly high tension on the Korean peninsula.
- North Korea’s missile programme
- Is South Korea equipped to defend itself?
- A world leader in dramatic rhetoric
- How potent are the threats?
North Korea has made a series of threats against the South and the US after the UN imposed some of its toughest ever sanctions on the country.
The move was a response to the North’s fourth nuclear test in January and its launching of a satellite in February, both of which broke existing sanctions.
In March, North Korea said it had developed nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles.
However, experts cast doubt on the claims.
The US said it had tracked the latest launch, but could also not confirm details of the missile used.
“We call again on North Korea to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its international commitments and obligations,” a State Department official said.
North Korea’s rocket launches
- February 2016: Launch of rocket reportedly carrying satellite
- May 2015: North Korea announces it has successfully tested a submarine-launched missile for the first time, but scepticism is then poured on the claim
- Dec 2012: North Korea launches three-stage rocket, says it successfully put a satellite into orbit; US defence officials confirm object in orbit
- Apr 2012: Three-stage rocket explodes just after take-off, falls into sea
- Apr 2009: Three-stage rocket launched; North Korea says it was a success, US says it failed and fell into the sea
- Jul 2006: North Korea test-fires a long-range Taepodong-2 missile; US said it failed shortly after take-off