It was Pyongyang’s 50th known launch of a ballistic projectile since leader Kim Jong-un took power at the end of 2011, despite the North being barred from such technology by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
“North Korea fired an unidentified missile from a site in the vicinity of Pukchang in Pyeongannam-do in the northeastern direction at around 5:30 a.m today,” Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement carried by local news agency Yonhap.
The JCS viewed the launch as a failure because the missile exploded a few minutes after being fired. The North’s previous test nearly two weeks ago was also botched.
The American Pacific Command confirmed the missile did not leave North Korean territory and was not seen as a threat to the United States.
Seoul and Washington are investigating what kind of projectile was involved, with Pyongyang openly pushing to expand its nuclear weapon capabilities.
As the launch took place hours after a special UNSC meeting to discuss the North, U.S. President Donald Trump swiftly criticized the reclusive state.
“North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!" Trump posted on Twitter.