North Korean missile test fails, South Korean official says

SEOUL, South Korea — An attempted projectile launch by North Korea on Sunday failed, US and South Korean defense officials told CNN.

A South Korean defense official said the action took place in Sinpo, a port city in eastern North Korea. That was the site of a ballistic missile test earlier this month in which the projectile fell into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

The North Koreans use Sinpo shipyard for their submarine activity, and US satellites have observed increased activity there in April, a US official said at the time of the previous test.

South Korean and US intelligence officials are trying to determine what type of missile was used Sunday.

US Pacific Command said it tracked a missile launch at 5:21 p.m. ET and said the missile blew up almost immediately.

The attempted launch occurred a day after the regime of Kim Jong Un showed off a bevy of new missiles and launchers at a large-scale military parade on its most important holiday.

CNN’s Will Ripley in Pyongyang, North Korea, reported there was no immediate confirmation from North Korean state media about the launch.

North Korea’s actions come as tensions on the Korean Peninsula have spiked to alarming levels.

The US Navy dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson strike group to the region last weekend, and US President Donald Trump has been tweeting this week that if China can’t rein in North Korea’s nuclear program, the United States will.

US Vice President Mike Pence is headed to Asia this weekend, with planned stops in Seoul; Jakarta, Indonesia; Tokyo and Sydney.

The reported failed test comes at a time of year when North Korea has previously tried to launch missiles. Last year, Pyongyang attempted to launch a Musudan missile on April 15, an auspicious date on which millions celebrate the birth of the nation’s founder — Kim II Sung, the late grandfather of North Korea’s current leader.

That test also failed, as there was “no evidence the missile reached flight,” a US official told CNN.