Details of the missile explosion weren't immediately known. Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
A North Korean missile fired from its capital region exploded mid-air in an apparent failed launch on Wednesday, South Korea's military said, amid reports that the nuclear-armed North is seeking to test-fire its largest missile yet.
The United States and South Korea have warned that North Korea may be preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at full range for the first time since 2017.
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South Korea’s military said, amid speculation that the North could soon launch its biggest long-range missile in its most significant provocation in years.
The projectile was fired from Sunan Airport outside the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.
The projectile was fired from Sunan Airport outside the North Korean capital.
"It is presumed that it failed immediately after launch," the statement said. The projectile seemed to explode mid-air shortly after liftoff, Yonhap news agency reported, citing unnamed sources.
Details of the missile explosion weren't immediately known. But the launch, the 10th of its kind this year, shows North Korea is determined to press ahead on its push to modernize its weapons arsenal and pressure its rivals into making concessions amid dormant denuclearisation talks.
The North Korean missile blew up while it was flying at an altitude of about 20 kilometres (12.4 miles), a South Korean military official said requesting anonymity because he wasn't publicly authorised to speak to media on the issue. He said the cause of the explosion wasn't known.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff earlier said in a statement that the launch made from the Pyongyang region around 9:30am apparently failed. It said South Korean and US intelligence authorities were analysing details of the launch.
The statement suggests North Korea might perform additional launches or even test a nuclear device soon as it pushes to modernize its arsenal and increase pressure on the Biden administration while nuclear diplomacy remains stalled.
North Korea has said it is open to diplomacy, but that Washington's overtures are undermined by its support for sanctions and joint military drills and arms buildups in South Korea and the region.
North Korea has conducted a record number of such tests this year, and also fired hundreds of artillery shells into the sea more recently as South Korea and the United States staged exercises, some of which involved Japan.
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