According to the Pentagon, North Korea has recently conducted an unsuccessful test launch of an intermediate ballistic missile.
The Musudan missile has an estimated range of up to 2,500 miles, enough to hit South Korea, Japan and the US territory of Guam.
Pyongyang has not reacted to the news.
The move comes amid concerns that North Korea may soon launch another long-range rocket or conduct a nuclear test.
The test took place near the north-western city of Kusong at 03:33 GMT on October 15, the Pentagon said in a statement.
US Navy Commander Gary Ross said the missile launch “did not pose a threat to North America”.
South Korea confirmed the failed launch, and said in a statement it strongly condemned the actions of North Korea.
The Yonhap news agency reported the missile was believed to have exploded soon after its launch, without citing a source for the information.
Pyongyang insists its space program is for peaceful purposes.
The US, South Korea and even China, the country’s main ally, say the recent rocket launches are aimed at developing inter-continental ballistic missiles.
North Korea regularly makes claims about the progress of its nuclear and missile programs, but analysts say most of them are impossible to independently verify.