According to South Korean and US military officials say, North Korea has failed to launch a missile on its east coast, a day after Pyongyang warned the US amid rising tension in the region.
The US said a ballistic missile exploded within seconds of the launch.
Hours earlier, North Korea paraded what appeared to be long-range ballistic missiles at a major military display.
North Korea has already conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches in contravention of UN resolutions.
The latest development comes as Vice-President Mike Pence heads to Seoul, where he is expected to discuss the best way to deal with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
“North Korea attempted to test an unidentified type of missile from [its eastern port of] Sinpo,” the South Korean defense ministry said, adding that the launch on April 16 had “failed”.
The US Pacific Command later confirmed the failed test, adding that it had detected and tracked what it believed to be a North Korean ballistic missile.
“The missile blew up almost immediately,” said US Navy Commander Dave Benham, quoted by Reuters.
One unnamed US official said it was unlikely to have been an intercontinental missile, but investigations were continuing.
On April 15, North Korea marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il-sung, with a huge military parade in Pyongyang amid speculation that current leader Kim Jong-un could order a new nuclear test.
The event, which appeared to include new intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, was a deliberate show of strength.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “North Korea showing a variety of offensive missiles at yesterday’s military parade and daring to fire a ballistic missile today is a show of force that threatens the whole world.”
Tension continues to rise in the Korean Peninsula with the US Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group steaming towards the region.
VP Mike Pence’s long-planned 10-day trip marks his first official visit to the region, where he is expected to reaffirm the US commitment to stand by its regional allies.
It comes as Washington steps up the pressure on isolated North Korea, with President Donald Trump saying that the US is ready to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat.
At the parade on April 15, North Korean military official Choe Ryong-hae, who is believed to be the country’s second most powerful official, said that his country was “prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war”.
“We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks,” he said.
Earlier this month, North Korea test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile from Sinpo into the Sea of Japan.
The launch took place on the eve of a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to the US to meet President Donald Trump. The two leaders later discussed how to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea is banned from any missile or nuclear tests by the UN, though it has repeatedly broken those sanctions.