North Korea just can't seem to get anything right.
Kim Jong Un, who just last week paraded long-range ballistic missiles at a national festival and military display, ordered a missile to be fired, U.S. and South Korean officials say.
But seconds after the launch from Sinpo, a port city in eastern North Korea, the missile exploded. The failed launch came just days after another ballistic missile test in which the projectile fell into the Sea of Japan. The U.S. Pacific Command confirmed Sunday's test.
North Korea is ramping up its rhetoric of late. Kim has been increasingly bellicose, annoying even his closest ally, China. What's more, the rogue country has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches in violation of UN resolutions.
So it's not surprising that Kim launched the missile as Vice President Mike Pence arrived in the South Korean capital, Seoul, for high-level meetings regarding what to do about the North. Pence told South Koreans on Sunday that the U.S. commitment to South Korea has "never been stronger."
South Korea said the test "threatened the whole world."
A U.S. foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence told Reuters that America's military leaders were not surprised by the missile tests.
"We had good intelligence before the launch and good intelligence after the launch," the adviser told reporters. "It's a failed test. It follows another failed test. So really no need to reinforce their failure. We don't need to expend any resources against that."
The adviser said the missile's flight lasted four or five seconds, Reuters reported.
"It wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when. The good news is that after five seconds it fizzled out."