South Korea and US military said that a missile launch by North Korea on Wednesday, failed with the rocket exploding within seconds.
South Korea defence ministry was the first to report the failure and promised more information.
But the US military statement from its pacific command offered more details.
“US Pacific Command detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch attempt in the vicinity of Kalma,” Dave Benham, a spokesman for US pacific command, said in the statement
“A missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch,” Benham said, adding that work was being carried out on a more detailed assessment.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the missile may have exploded as it was launched, before reaching an altitude at which it could be detected by South Korean radar.
The launch comes as the US envoy for North Korea nuclear program, Joseph Yun, met his South Korean counterpart in Seoul to discuss a response to the North’s weapons programs.
Just last week US secretary of state Rex Tillerson visited Japan, South Korea and China. How to handle North Korea was a major issue in his talks.
Speaking in Seoul on Friday, Tillerson said a policy of strategic patience with North Korea had ended and all options, including a military one, were on the table if North Korea threatened South Korean or US forces.
North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and a series of missile launches since the beginning of last year in defiance of UN resolutions. It is believed to be working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States.
Last year, North Korea launched several intermediate-range missiles from the same area but only one of the tests was successful.
North Korea launched four ballistic missiles from near its west coast on March 6 and this week conducted a rocket engine test that its leader, Kim Jong Un, said opened “a new birth” of its rocket industry.
US President Donald Trump on Sunday criticised Kim, saying the North Korean leader was “acting very, very badly”.