North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile off its east coast on Saturday, but the missile failed in its initial flight stage, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, according to the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency.
The missile was fired from waters southeast of the coastal port city of Sinpo at around 11:30 a.m. (0230 MT), the military said. "The missile was ejected from the submarine normally, but (we) estimate the initial flight was unsuccessful," the JCS was quoted as saying in a press release.
"Our military strongly denounces such provocative acts by North Korea," the JCS noted.
North Korea's ballistic missile launches are direct violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions, including its Musudan missile launches on June 22nd and the latest launch, the military said.
The latest submarine-launched ballistic missile appears to have exploded at an altitude of some 10 kilometers after being fired from a submerged 2,000-ton Sinpo-class submarine, the report said, citing military sources.
The missile flew only a few kilometers before the presumed explosion, it said. The latest launch came less than three months after the country's previous test fire of same missile, which ended in failure.
The sea-based missile, launched on April 23rd from the East Sea, broke into several pieces in mid-flight after flying some 30 kilometers, military officials have said.
The Saturday launch is Pyonyang's latest show of force and comes a day after Seoul and Washington's announcement to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery, a high-tech US air defense system, in Korea to counter the North's nuclear and ballistic missile threats.
Also, earlier in the week the US Treasury Department blacklisted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and 22 other officials and state entities for human rights violations.