An unidentified rocket is displayed during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017.
An unidentified rocket is displayed during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017.

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday from a region north of its capital, but it appears to have failed, South Korea's military said.

The latest missile test is yet another act of defiance by the reclusive state in the face of intense pressure from the US and Pyongang's main ally, China.

An official at South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the launch but did not immediately have any further information.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the missile appeared to have blown up a few seconds into flight.

Reacting to the missile test, the White House said it aware of the test and that President Donald Trump had been briefed on the development.

The US Pacific Command said the missile launch occurred near Pukchang airfield in North Korea.

It said the missile did not leave North Korean territory and nor did it pose any threat to North America.

US officials said they were working to determine the type of missile used and the distance it flew.

The test came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the UN that failure to curb North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to 'catastrophic consequences'.

US President Donald Trump said in an interview on Thursday a "major, major conflict" with North Korea was possible over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Trump praised Chinese leader Xi Jinping for "trying very hard" to rein in Pyongyang.

But both China and Russia rebuked Washington's threat of military force at a meeting of the UN Security Council on the matter.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been rising as North Korea celebrates a number of key anniversaries, with both sides staging major military drills.

In a show of force, the US is sending the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group to waters off the Korean peninsula, where it will join the USS Michigan, a nuclear submarine that docked in South Korea on Tuesday.

South Korea's navy has said it will hold drills with the US strike group.

TRT World's Nafisa Latic has the latest.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies