The missile exploded within a few seconds of its launch and came hours before US Vice President Mike Pence reached South Korea for talks on how to curb Pyongyang's weapons programme.
North Korea on Sunday staged a fresh missile test, a day after a defiant giant military parade. The test, which was said to have failed, took place hours before US Vice President Mike Pence arrived in South Korea for talks on curbing Pyongyang's weapons programmes.
The South Korean and US military said the latest launch – conducted as tensions rose over the North's nuclear ambitions – was a failure.
"We don't need to expend any resources against that. We weren't surprised by it, we were anticipating it," an adviser travelling with Pence told reporters. Initial reports said it was a medium-range missile and failed four to five seconds into the launch.
Pence said the country's resolve and commitment to its alliance with South Korea had never been stronger. The vice president is on a tour which will also include Japan, Indonesia and Australia.
North Korea's test came after it displayed nearly 60 missiles – including what is suspected to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile – at a parade on Saturday to mark the 105th birthday of its founder Kim Il-Sung.
North Korea has a habit of firing off missiles to mark major political anniversaries, or as gestures of defiance to top US officials visiting the region.