North Korea tested submarine-launched missile, but launch failed: report

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A Journey Through North Korea

North Korea appeared to conduct a submarine-launched ballistic missile test on Saturday but it ended in failure with no indication that the missile successfully ejected from the vessel and took off, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The test, if confirmed, follows a test-launch in May of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), which Pyongyang boasted as a success but has not been independently verified.

"There is no identification of a missile taking flight and only fragments of a safety cover was observed so it's highly likely that the launch was a misfire," a South Korean government source was quoted as saying by Yonhap.

A look inside North Korean daily life:

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Take a look inside North Korean daily life
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North Korea tested submarine-launched missile, but launch failed: report
FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2014, photo, a clock is visible on top of a train station in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea said Friday, Aug. 7, 2015, that it will establish its own time zone next week by pulling back its current standard time by 30 minutes. Local time in North and South Korea and Japan is the same — nine hours ahead of GMT. It was set during Japan's rule over what was single Korea from 1910 to 1945. The establishment of "Pyongyang time" is meant to root out the legacy of the Japanese colonial period, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
In this June 19, 2014 photo, a North Korean man pushes his bicycle to a village in North Korea's North Hamgyong province. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 15, 2014 photo, the remains of lunch sits on a restaurant table in the city of Wonsan, North Korea. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 20, 2014 photo, a North Korean man stands in front of a row of homes in the town of Kimchaek, in North Korea's North Hamgyong province. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
North Koreans gather together on the steps of Mansu Hill to lay flowers at the base of statues of the late leaders, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, the eve of the second anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 21, 2014 photo, a group of young North Koreans enjoys a picnic on the beach in Wonsan, North Korea. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 17, 2014 photo, a North Korean man sits by a cooking fire he built to roast potatoes and chicken in the town of Samjiyon, in North Korea's Ryanggang province. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
North Korean aerobics instructors practice a routine at a dance studio inside the newly-opened Kumrung Sports Exercise Center in Pyongyang, North Korea on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. Building new recreational and health facilities has been a cornerstone of leader Kim Jong Un's efforts to fulfill a promise made to raise living standards in North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 20, 2014 photo, North Korean people rest next to the railroad tracks in a town in North Korea's North Hamgyong province. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 16, 2014 photo, North Korean men share a picnic lunch and North Korean-brewed and bottled Taedonggang beer along the road in North Korea's North Hwanghae province. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 20, 2014 photo, young North Korean schoolchildren help to fix pot holes in a rural road in North Korea's North Hamgyong province. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
North Korean women in colorful traditional dresses are surrounded by flower blossoms known as "Kimilsungia" as they wait to guide guests at a flower exhibition in Pyongyang, North Korea Monday, April 14, 2014. The flowers, named after Kim Il Sung, are on display to celebrate the late leader's official birth date of April 15, 1912. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 14, 2014 photo, portraits of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are illuminated on a building side as the sun rises over Pyongyang. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2014, photo, a clock hangs on the wall as North Koreans leave an underground train station in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea said Friday, Aug. 7, 2015, that it will establish its own time zone next week by pulling back its current standard time by 30 minutes. Local time in North and South Korea and Japan is the same — nine hours ahead of GMT. It was set during Japan's rule over what was single Korea from 1910 to 1945. The establishment of "Pyongyang time" is meant to root out the legacy of the Japanese colonial period, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
North Korea's capital Pyongyang, viewed from a window of an Air Koryo flight arriving from Beijing, stands on the horizon on Thursday, May 8, 2014. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this Monday, June 16, 2014 photo, a North Korean man driving an ox cart protects himself in a rainstorm south of Hyesan, North Korea in Ryanggang province. For more than four decades, farming in North was characterized by heavy use of mechanization and technological innovations, swiftly followed by chronic fuel and equipment shortages and long-term damage caused by stopgap policies. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
North Korean children climb steps near Mansu Hill in Pyongyang on their way to lay flowers at the feet of bronze statues of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Saturday, April 12, 2014. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 21, 2014 photo, a man works on his car as others sit next to the sea Wonsan, North Korea. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 16, 2014 photo, statues of animals playing musical instruments stand along the roadside south of Samsu, North Korea in Ryanggang province. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 20, 2014 photo, exhaust fumes, like fog, spills out of the long Hamgwan Tunnel near Hamhung in North Korea's South Hamgyong province. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
10ThingstoSeeSports - North Korean spectators watch from the stands of Kim Il Sung Stadium as runners line up at the start of the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon in Pyongyang, North Korea on Sunday, April 13, 2014. The annual race, which includes a full marathon, a half marathon, and a 10-kilometer run, was open to foreign tourists for the first time this year. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
A North Korean man helps a woman fire a bow and arrow at a firing range at the Meari Shooting Gallery in Pyongyang on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 17, 2014 photo, a North Korean man takes shelter in the rain next to long propaganda billboards in the town of Samjiyon in North Korea's Ryanggang province. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 21, 2014 photo, a woman walks along an open road southeast of Pyongyang in North Korea's North Hwanghae province. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 19, 2014 photo, a hotel employee walks in the lobby of a hotel that accommodates foreign visitors in Chongjin, North Korea. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In June 18, 2014 photo, a boulder lies on a path near the peak of Mount Paektu in North Korea's Ryanggang province. North Koreans venerate Mount Paektu for its natural beauty, but more importantly because it is considered the home of the North Korean revolution. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 16, 2014 photo, farmers walk in a rainstorm with their cattle near the town of Hyesan, North Korea in Ryanggang province. The Associated Press was granted permission to embark on a weeklong road trip across North Korea to the country's spiritual summit Mount Paektu. The trip was on North Korea's terms. An AP reporter and photographer couldn't interview ordinary people or wander off course, and government "minders" accompanied them the entire way. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this June 21, 2014 photo, a row of bicycles are parked next to the sea Wonsan, North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
In this Monday, June 16, 2014 photo, North Korean men rest along the roadside north of Samsu, North Korea in Ryanggang province. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
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South Korea's Defence Ministry declined to confirm the report citing its policy of not commenting on intelligence matters.

The North's May test launch of an SLBM fueled alarm in South Korea and the United States about the possibility of advances in the military capabilities of a state that is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

But a high-ranking U.S. military official and private rocket experts questioned the authenticity of photographs released by the North of the May launch saying they were likely modified.

The missile was likely launched from a specially designed submerged barge and not from a submarine and that the North is years away from developing such technology, some experts have said.

But South Korea said it believed the rocket was fired from a submarine and flew about 150 meters out of the water.

North Korea has defied U.N. sanctions for its missile and nuclear tests and is believed to be developing a nuclear device small enough to be mounted on a ballistic missile but it is believed to be some years away from perfecting the technology.

North Korea is technically still at war with the South after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 U.S. troops are based in South Korea in combined defense with the South against the North.

(Reporting by Jack Kim and Ju-min Park; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Click through for the country's nuclear facilities:

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North Korean nuclear facilities
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North Korea tested submarine-launched missile, but launch failed: report
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - JULY 2, 2015: Figure 3. Transformer Yard at the ELWR. Date: July 2, 2015. Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center. Mandatory credit: Image © 2015 DigitalGlobe Inc./38 North.
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - JULY 2, 2015: Figure 4. Construction at the Uranium Enrichment Facility. Date: July 2, 2015. Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center. Mandatory credit: Image © 2015 DigitalGlobe Inc./38 North.
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - JULY 2, 2015: Figure 1. Vehicles at the 5 MWe Reactor. Date: July 2, 2015. Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center. Mandatory credit: Image © 2015 DigitalGlobe Inc./38 North.
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - APRIL 29, 2015: Figure 2. Probable CO2 truck seen at the 5 MWe Reactor in April. Date April 29, 2015. Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center. Mandatory credit: Image © 2015 DigitalGlobe Inc./38 North.
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - May 24, 2015: Figure 4. Continued construction at the uranium enrichment facility. Note: image rotated. Date: May 24, 2015. Published on 38 North. (Photo DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images)
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 4, 2014: This is Figure 3 -- DigitalGlobe imagery shows new activity seen at the Radiochemical Laboratory. Note: image rotated -- published on 38 North. (Photo DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images)
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - JANUARY 11, 2015: This is Figure 4B. ELWR activity in January 2015. Note: image rotated. Date: January 11, 2015 -- published on 38 North. (Photo DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images)
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - May 24, 2015: Figure 3: 5 MWe Reactor on May 24vehicles present, no indications of steam or water discharge. Note: image rotated. (Photo DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images)
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - May 24, 2015: Figure 2. Power line service to 5 MWe Reactor area. Note: image rotated. Date: May 24, 2015. Published on 38 North. (Photo DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images)
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - OCTOBER 28, 2014: This is Figure 1 -- DigitalGlobe imagery of the 5 MWe Reactor appears to still be shutdown -- published on 38 North. (Photo DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images)
PUNGGYE-RI NUCLEAR TEST SITE, NORTH KOREA - MARCH 27th, 2015: Figure 6a. Construction material visible at the Main Support Area at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in North Korea. Date: March 27, 2015. (Photo DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images)
PUNGGYE-RI NUCLEAR TEST SITE, NORTH KOREA - MAY 16, 2015: Figure 6b. An old building has been re-roofed and a new building has been erected at the Main Support Area at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in North Korea. Date: May 16, 2015 (Photo DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images)
YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 7, 2013: This is Figure 9. a time progression of the experimental light water reactor (ELWR) development at the Yongbyon Nuclear Facility in North Korea. Featured in “Start-Up of North Korean Experimental Light Water Reactor Could Begin by Mid-2013 If Fuel is Available,” published on 38 North. Figure 9: February 7, 2013 (reactor building complete, cleanup underway). (Photo DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images)
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