North Korea attempted to fire a missile it introduced just hours ago at a military parade – but the launch was an embarrassing failure after the weapon blew up almost immediately.
It is thought to be one of the country’s new ‘game-changer’ intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) which was revealed to the world in a display of military might yesterday.
The South Korean defence ministry said it had detected a failed launch from Sinpo – where North Korea’s biggest submarine base is located.
According to a military official the weapon is ‘presumed to be a new ICBM’ as it is longer than the existing KN-08 or KN-14 missiles.
US defence secretary James Mattis said Donald Trump is ‘aware’ of the launch and has no further comment as Vice President landed in South Korea ahead of a 10-day Asia tour.
The South Korean defence ministry said in a statement: ‘North Korea attempted to test an unidentified type of missile from Sinpo area in the South Hamkyong Province this morning, but we suspect the launch has failed.
In a statement, the US military said: ‘U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 11:21 a.m. Hawaii time April 15.
‘The launch of the ballistic missile occurred near Sinpo.
‘The missile blew up almost immediately. The type of missile is still being assessed.
‘U.S. Pacific Command is fully committed to working closely with our allies in the Republic of Korea and in Japan to maintain security.’
Meanwhile Pyongyang threatened ‘catastrophic consequences’ when Trump sent an armada of warships to the Korean Peninsula.
At the same time, China has moved 150,000 troops to its border to deal with a possible influx of North Korean refugees amid fears Trump may strike Kim following the surprise US missile attack on Syria last week.