An attempted missile launch by North Korea failed when it exploded immediately after liftoff, a U.S. official says.
An official said a missile was launched near Sinpo, North Korea, at 5:21 p.m. ET, and it exploded immediately.
According to a Defense Department official, the missile that was launched was land-based, and there was a high degree of confidence that it was not an ICBM, but an assessment was still under way.
“U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 11:21 a.m. Hawaii time April 15. The launch of the ballistic missile occurred near Sinpo,” U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Commander David Benham said.
An administration official said President Trump has been briefed at Mar-a-Lago on the failed North Korean missile launch.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis released a statement saying: “The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment.”
Vice President Mike Pence was briefed on what the vice president’s office called a failed missile launch on Air Force 2, currently en route to Seoul. The vice president is expected to arrive in the South Korean capital at 3:30 p.m. local time or 2:30 a.m. ET.
Pence was briefed on the situation in North Korea within an hour of his departure from Anchorage, Alaska, and was in contact with President Trump, aides to the vice president told reporters.
The launch attempt comes hours after North Korea rolled out intercontinental ballistic missiles and other military hardware at a massive parade to celebrate the birthday of the country’s late founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.
State television showed leader Kim Jong Un addressing the thousands of soldiers and civilians taking part in the parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, the capital.
The festivities took place amid concerns that North Korea is possibly preparing for its sixth nuclear test or a significant rocket launch, such as its first flight test of an ICBM.
Tensions continue to rise between North Korea and the U.S.
Trump tweeted on Thursday that he had “great confidence” in China’s ability to “properly deal with North Korea.”
“If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will!” the tweet added.
I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2017