North Korea angers neighbours with "failed" missile launch

North Korea's attempt to launch a missile earlier Tuesday has drawn heavy condemnation from its neighbours, with tension still high on the peninsula.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry warned that Pyongyang could face toughened sanctions and more isolation as a result of the launch, which was a failure according to South Korean military sources.

"Today's missile launch attempt by the North is tantamount to ignoring repeated warnings from the international community to stop additional provocations, which can never be tolerated," ministry spokesman Cho June Hyuck told reporters, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said that "the multiple launches of missiles by North Korea are provocative acts toward the international community, including Japan, and are totally unacceptable."

China, Pyongyang's only major international ally, struck a more conciliatory tone.

"The current situation of the peninsula is complex and sensitive. All relative parties should avoid taking any action that might escalate the tension," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The rocket type fired on Tuesday morning was a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile, Yonhap reported, citing the South Korean military. The missile may have exploded prematurely, it said.

The isolated Pyongyang regime suffered three failed Musudan launches in April, it said.

Tensions on the peninsula are high, after North Korea held an atomic test explosion in January, and launched a long-range ballistic missile in February, prompting a tightening of international sanctions.

Last update: Tue, 31/05/2016 - 13:56

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