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

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

General view of the capital with the Golf club near the river Taedong ,August 10,2005,in Pyongyang ,North Korea.

(Photo by Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the first party committee meeting in Pyongyang, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) December 25, 2016.

(KCNA KCNA / Reuters)

A general view of downtown street on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

North Korean children practise table tennis against the wall in a primary school on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

The Monument to the Party Founding is seen on April 3, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Cyclists ride along the banks of the Taedong River in front of the Grand People's Study House opposite the Tower of the Juche Idea. The 100,000 square metre building can house 30 million volumes and accommodate over 12,000 peeople daily; it contains 600 rooms.

(Photo by Alain Nogues/Alain Nogues/Corbis via Getty Images)

North korean pioneers going to pay respect to the dear leaders at mansudae art studio, pyongyang, North Korea on September 8, 2012 in Pyongyang, North Korea.

(Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us via Getty Images)

People commute on the bus near April 25 House of Culture, the venue of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) congress in Pyongyang, North Korea May 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

Commuters queue for buses on October 30, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea.

(Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

A man looks across Yalu River towards North Korea as he stands next to the bridge that connects China's Dandong, Liaoning province and North Korea's Sinuiju, September 10, 2016.

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo)

A soldier walks under portraits of North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung (L) and former leader Kim Jong-il at Pyongyang's main square October 11, 2015. Isolated North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Saturday with a massive military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said his country was ready to fight any war waged by the United States.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

O Yang Ran and her husband Kim Chol Nam pose during a photo session at Pyongyang Folk Park, October 11, 2015. Isolated North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Saturday with a massive military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said his country was ready to fight any war waged by the United States.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

A boy dressed as solider wait for the bus with others in central Pyongyang, October 11, 2015. Isolated North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Saturday with a massive military parade overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said his country was ready to fight any war waged by the United States.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

A Chinese man washes his mop on February 14, 2012 in Dandong, China. Dandong lies on the border between China and North Korea and is the largest border city in China.

(Photo by Hong Wu/Getty Images)

A man rides a bicycle in a park on April 3, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Two North Korean boys make a fun on the street on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Commuters move by escalator at Puhung Subway station situated more than 100M below the surface, it is also an atomic shelter, on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

North Korean children play football in a primary school on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

North Korean children perform in a primary school on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

North Korean children perform in a primary school on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and the population is about 2,500,000.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

The Immortal Statue of Kim Il Sung monument is seen on August 12, 2009 in Pyongyang, North Korea.

(Photo by NK News/Getty Images)

Portraits of President Kim Il Sung (L) and his son Kim Jong Il, current Secretary General of the Korean Workers Party and Chief General of the army, in the international conference room for Korea's reunification.

(Photo by Alain Nogues/Corbis via Getty Images)

This photo taken on January 7, 2017 and released on January 9, 2017 by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows a joint conference of officials of the party, state, economic and armed forces organs to discuss ways for carrying through the tasks set forth by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in his New Year address in Pyongyang.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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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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