By Park Si-soo
A North Korean attempt to launch a missile on Sunday morning has failed, South Korea's defense ministry said.
"North Korea attempted to test an unidentified type of missile from the Sinpo area in South Hamkyong Province at 6:20 a.m., but we suspect the missile blew up almost immediately upon its launch," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said it was analyzing the test for further details. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the botched launch.
In a statement, U.S. Pacific Command's spokesman Cmdr. Dave Benham said it "detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch."
He added, "U.S. Pacific Command is fully committed to working closely with our allies in the Republic of Korea and in Japan to maintain security."
The launch attempt came amid rising tensions, with the U.S. sending an aircraft-carrier strike group to waters off the Korean Peninsula to deter potential North Korean provocations, such as a nuclear test.
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to take a tough stance against the North and threatened unilateral action if China does not work with the U.S. to curb the North's nuclear program.
Pyongyang has so far conducted five nuclear tests -- two last year -- and analysis of satellite imagery suggests Pyongyang could be preparing for a sixth.
Citing intelligence officials, AFP news agency reported that the North could have the ability to strike the U.S. with self-developed intercontinental missiles within two years.