North Korean attempted missile launch fails

North Korean attempted missile launch fails
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North Korea attempted to launch a ballistic missile Sunday on its east coast but failed, U.S. and South Korean military officials said.

The attempt comes a day after North Korea held a military parade showing off its latest missiles, amid increased tensions in the region over its nuclear program.

"The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from near the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed," the South's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement reported by Reuters, adding it was analyzing the launch.

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A U.S. official said the ballistic missile "blew up almost immediately," while the type of missile was 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," spokesman Cmdr. Dave Benham said in a statement.

Vice President Pence was briefed on the launch while on Air Force Two en route to South Korea on Saturday night, according to his spokesman. Pence's visit is part of a more than weeklong, multi-nation trip to reaffirm U.S. ties to the region, officials said.

President Trump, who is spending the holiday weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, was briefed on the attempted launch and also spoke by phone with Pence.

"The president and his military team are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment," Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in a statement.

Sunday's attempt was the latest wrinkle in mounting tension between the U.S. and North Korea.

Trump ordered a navy strike group led by an aircraft carrier to the Western Pacific Ocean last week as a show of force while U.S. officials weigh increased economic sanctions on the North.

The launch came a day after North Korea held a parade marking the 105th birthday of its state founder Kim Il Sung, leader Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, where it showcased its missiles, and followed another attempt one from the same region earlier this month.

That launch, which also came from near the port city of Sinpo, prompted a terse response from some U.S. officials, who had been making a flurry of statements condemning North Korea's moves.

“North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after the April 4 launch. "The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”

That launch came ahead of a meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, a key ally of North Korea, to discuss Pyongyang's arms program.

Trump vowed to pressure the Chinese leader to take a firmer approach to North Korea, but told The Wall street Journal following the meeting, "After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it's not so easy." 

Updated: 9:30 p.m.