North Korea attempted to test a missile that blew up as it was launched early Sunday morning local time near the country’s eastern city of Sinpo, U.S. and South Korean officials said.
U.S. Cmdr. Dave Benham said U.S. officials are still determining what kind of missile was launched.
“The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed,” South’s Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Reuters in a statement.
The launch comes as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have escalated and a day after the country celebrated the 105th birthday of Kim Il-Sung, who founded the country. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was set to visit South Korea hours after the failed launch to discuss North Korea’s arms program.
“The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in a statement Saturday night. “The president has no further comment.”