North Korea missile launch test fails a day after show of strength with military parade

Chloe Chaplain
Concern: North Korea is believed to have carried out a failed missile test: AP

The Government has said it is "concerned" after reports emerged that North Korea carried out a failed missile test.

The as yet unidentified missile exploded on launch from a base in Sinpo, a city on the country's east coast, on Sunday, US military officials said.

British officials are said to be closely monitoring the situation amid simmering tensions between the US and North Korea over the rogue state's nuclear weapons programme.

International concern has been ratcheting up over the deteriorating situation, with China expressing fears war could break out "at any moment".

Missile: Accordng to reports on North Korea conducted a failed missile launch from its east coast (EPA)

On Saturday the regime gave a huge show of strength with a parade of military hardware feared to have featured a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Meanwhile the US has sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the Korean Peninsula, leading Pyongyang to accuse Donald Trump of "creating a war situation".

Celebration: A view of the parade marking the 105th

The President has not commented on the test, although US Defence Secretary James Mattis said Mr Trump and his military advisers were "aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch".

America's vice president, Mike Pence, is due to arrive in South Korea on Sunday to visit US troops, and the firing of a missile has been viewed as an attempt to send a message of defiance to Washington.

It is not known what kind of weapon was tested on Sunday, although Pyongyang has repeatedly stated its aim of developing a rocket that could drop a nuclear payload on the US mainland.

Despite the test being a failure it may still provide the regime's scientists with valuable information for its weapons programme.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are concerned by reports of a missile test by North Korea and are monitoring the situation closely."

Earlier Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said of the situation that "we have been here before" and urged Pyongyang to adhere to UN resolutions in order to secure peace.

"We stand alongside our international partners in making clear that North Korea must adhere to UN resolutions designed to secure peace and stability in the region and stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons," he said.

Despite UN sanctions North Korea launched a long-range rocket and carried out two nuclear tests in 2016, including its most powerful bomb to date.

Parade: A submarine-launched ballistic missile (AP)

Mr Trump has accused North Korea of "looking for trouble" and recently ordered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and several war ships to the area to highlight American concern.

Fears that Pyongyang would carry out a sixth nuclear test rose before the celebrations for the 105th anniversary of the birth of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung, on Saturday.

As well as a vast display of missiles, military hardware and personnel, the event saw the regime intensify its rhetoric against the US.

Threat: The country said it is 'ready for war' (AP)

Choe Ryong Hae, widely regarded as the secretive state's number two leading official, accused Mr Trump of "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by sending American forces to the region.

He said: "We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack."

China, North Korea's only major ally, has called for calm, warning "conflict could break out at any moment" and that such a situation would bring no winners.

Leader: Kim Jong Un waves to people attending a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father Kim Il Sung (REUTERS)

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said Prime Minister Theresa May and Mr Johnson needed to use what influence they had with Mr Trump to tell him that "aircraft carrier diplomacy" was not the answer.

"If Theresa May and Boris Johnson really do have any influence with their great friend in the White House they need to make clear that aircraft carrier diplomacy is not what the world needs.

"Where is Britain's new global influence that Theresa May was boasting about? On Syria, Russia and now North Korea, the British Government has no influence, cut off from our partners in Europe thanks to their hard Brexit."

Additional reporting from Press Association.