North Korea’s latest missile test fails, U.S. says

For the second time this month, an attempt by North Korea to test-launch a ballistic missile has failed, American military officials said.

The communist country's apparently unsuccessful launch, near the central Pukchang airfield, occurred about 6:30 a.m. local time Saturday, said Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command.

Officials said the launch never posed a threat to North America.

“The missile did not leave North Korean territory,” Benham said.

It was the second failed test in recent days by the government in Pyongyang. On April 16, a missile launched from the coastal city of Sinpo exploded “almost immediately,” American military officials said.

Earlier this month, North Korea paraded missiles and other military hardware through Pyongyang in a show of force to commemorate the 105th birthday of the late founding president, Kim Il Sung.

The government under Kim’s grandson, Kim Jong Un, has stepped up efforts to improve its nuclear and missile programs in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, with mixed results.

Other tested missiles have traveled into the East Sea, posing no threat to South Korea or Japan, but raising the tension level in the region about the North's increasing capabilities.

The attempted launch came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the U.N. Security Council to impose new economic sanctions on North Korea and to suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with the country.

Tillerson, speaking at the U.N. for the first time, warned Friday of a “catastrophic” outcome if steps aren’t taken to halt North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. A day earlier, President Trump warned that a “major, major conflict” with North Korea was possible.

On Friday, Trump expressed his displeasure via Twitter. The president, who has pressed China and its president, Xi Jinping, to restrain North Korea, tweeted: “North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!”

Earlier this week the White House hosted an hourlong security briefing on North Korea for senators. In a rare move, the entire Senate was invited, and most members of the chamber attended the briefing on Wednesday.

Stiles is a special correspondent.

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UPDATES:

5:30 p.m.: This article has been updated with a tweet from President Trump.

4:35 p.m.: This article has been updated with Times reporting and comments from Dave Benham and Rex Tillerson.

This article was originally published at 2:55 p.m.

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