“U.S. Pacific Command is fully committed to working closely with our allies in the Republic of Korea and in Japan to maintain security,” U.S. Pacific Command Cdr. Dave Benham said in a statement.
President Trump was notified of the failed launch.
Vice President Pence was also briefed on the launch and has been in contact with Trump. Pence is en route to Seoul, South Korea to kick off his Asian tour.
“The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment,” Defense Secretary Mattis said.
The missile failure comes a day after North Korea paraded its intercontinental ballistic missiles in a massive military display in central Pyongyang.
Kim Jong Un did not speak during the parade, but one of his top officials, Choe Ryong Hae , warned North Korea would stand up to any threat posed by the U.S. He said Trump was guilty of “creating a war situation” on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching U.S. forces to the region.
“We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack,” Choe said.
Pyongyang has expressed anger over Trump deploying a strike team, led by the USS Carl Vinson, to the waters outside the Korean Peninsula as well as the largest-ever war games between the U.S. and South Korea.
U.S. officials said on Friday that Trump’s advisers weighed a range of ideas for how to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. U.S. officials told The Associated Press that the administration had settled on a policy that will emphasize increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of China, North Korea’s only major ally, instead of military options or trying to overthrow Kim’s regime.
A U.S. military official told the AP the U.S. doesn’t intend to use military force against North Korea in response to either a nuclear test or a missile launch.
Despite Sunday’s failure, the North’s previous claim to have used “standardized” warheads has led to worries that it was making headway in its push to develop small and sophisticated warheads to be topped on long-range missiles. The United States, South Korea and other countries have vowed to apply more pressure on the North, but so far nothing has worked to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
North Korea has spent decades trying to develop operational nuclear weapons.
It is thought to have a small arsenal of atomic bombs and an impressive array of short- and medium-range missiles. But it has yet to demonstrate that it can produce nuclear bombs small enough to place on a missile, or missiles that can reliably deliver their bombs to faraway targets.