North Korean missile explodes on launch, US and S. Korea say

As Tokyo communicated its protest to Pyongyang through a diplomatic channel in Beijing, a Japanese government source said North Korea's "repeated provocative moves are unacceptable".

A North Korean missile "blew up nearly immediately" on its test launch on Sunday, the U.S. Pacific Command said, hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence landed in South Korea for talks on the North's increasingly defiant arms programme.

It wasn't immediately clear what kind of missile was sacked from the city of Sinpo, but the failure will sting in Pyongyang because it comes a day after one of the biggest North Korean propaganda events of the year- celebrations of the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather.

South Korea said the combined show of force "threatened the whole world" but a USA foreign policy adviser travelling with Pence on Air Force Two appeared to defuse some of the tension, saying the test of what was believed to be a medium-range missile had come as no surprise. South Korea's foreign ministry strongly condemned the launch.

Pyongyang, Washington - In an indirect response to US President Donald Trump, North Korea warned on Saturday to use its nuclear weapons in countering any similar attack that might target its territories.

Chad O'Carroll, managing director of specialist service NK News, said the new rockets could be liquid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missiles, or an early prototype.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket and conducted two nuclear tests past year, including its most powerful to date, and there have been a slew of shorter range missile firings.

With relations close to boiling point following North Korea's condemnation of Mr Trump's bombing of a Syrian airfield, the attempted show of strength is an embarrassment to Kim Jong-un, who had just celebrated the 105th birthday of late founding leader and "eternal president" Kim Il Sung with a large military parade in the capital Pyongyang.

The reported failed test comes at a time of year when North Korea has previously tried to launch missiles.

North Korea is accusing the USA of provoking his nation after Trump sent the USS Carl Vinson to the Korean peninsula.

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The timing of the test, coinciding with Pence's trip and a day after the military parade, would suggest deliberate defiance.

North Korea has in turn warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked.

Along with the deployment of the Naval aircraft carrier and other vessels into waters off the Korean Peninsula, thousands of US and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry were also deployed last month in their biggest-ever joint military exercises.

The extended-range Scud missile in that earlier launch suffered an in-flight failure and fell into the sea off North Korea's east coast, according to USA imagery and assessments.

"Beijing should make clear to Pyongyang through diplomatic channels: if the DPRK in spite of the opposition of the worldwide community (carry out a sixth nuclear test), China should cut off the vast majority of their oil supply and China should support the Security Council to pass new sanctions including this measure", the paper said, referring to North Korea by its official title, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Pence is also likely to explain to Hwang the Trump administration's North Korea policy. "U.S.A.", he wrote.

"This launch can possibly be a test for a new type of missile or an upgrade".

The group brought ships that could shoot down missiles that North Korea has been testing.

"If it is a failure, then failure is the mother of success", he told Reuters.

North Korean soldiers are facing the death penalty for spreading a very unwise joke about Kim Jong-un.

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