North Korea displays new missiles at parade
Military vehicles carry missiles with characters reading 'Pukkuksong' during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father, Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea April 15, 2017. Reuters

A North Korean missile "blew up almost immediately" on its test launch on Sunday, the US Pacific Command said, adding the type of missile was being analysed. The incident happened hours before US Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to go to South Korea, as a part of a 10-day planned trip to Asia, for talks on the North's increasingly defiant arms programme.

According to a US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, there was a high degree of confidence that it was not an intercontinental ballistic missile. A second US official said the launch was land-based.

The failed launch from North Korea's east coast came a day after North Korea held a military parade in its capital celebrating the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father, Kim Il Sung. The parade had a display of new long-range ballistic missiles.

Meanwhile, the US nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group, which was planning a trip to Australia, is now heading towards the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula as concerns are growing about North Korea's advancing weapons program.

North Korea has warned the US that if provoked it would launch a missile that can strike its mainland but officials and experts believe that the country is some time away from mastering all the necessary technology.

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

The timing of the missile test that coincides with Pence's trip and a day after the military parade, would suggest deliberate defiance. The White House aides said that Pence had already been briefed on the failed launch en route to Seoul and had been in touch with President Donald Trump.

On Sunday, South Korea said that it would convene a national security council meeting.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited an unidentified South Korean intelligence source as saying the missile appeared to have not flown far from its land-based launch site.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile from the same region ahead of a summit between the leaders of the United States and China to discuss the North's arms programme.

The missile flew about 60 km (40 miles). But, the U.S. officials said it appeared to be a liquid-fuelled, extended-range Scud missile only travelled a fraction of its range before spinning out of control.

China, North Korea's lone major ally, has also spoken out against its missile and nuclear tests and has supported UN sanctions. On Friday, China again called for talks to defuse the crisis.

China is North Korea's lone major ally but has spoken out against its missile and nuclear tests and has supported UN sanctions. On Friday, China again called for talks to defuse the crisis.

Earlier this month, a US Navy attack on a Syrian airfield with Tomahawk missiles raised questions about US President Donald Trump's plans for reclusive North Korea. Pyongyang has conducted several missiles and nuclear tests in defiance of UN sanctions and regularly threatening to destroy the United States.