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U.S. Detects What It Says Is Failed N. Korean Missile Launch

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military said Saturday it's detected what's being described as a failed missile launch by North Korea.

The launch occurred near the northwestern city of Kusong and the missile is presumed to be a Musadan intermediate-range ballistic missile, according to a Defense Department statement.

The military says the launch was attempted at 12:03 p.m. Saturday local time (11:33 p.m. EDT Friday) and that the missile didn't pose a threat to North America.

North Korea has claimed technical breakthroughs in its goal of developing a long-range nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental United States. South Korean defense officials have said the North doesn't yet have such a weapon.

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It's the latest in a series of moves by North Korea aimed apparently at displaying a show of force. As recently as last month, it fired three ballistic missiles off its east coast, timed to get the attention of world leaders including President Barack Obama who were visiting the region for a series of summits.

The U.N. Security Council subsequently condemned those North Korean launches and threatened "further significant measures" if it refused to stop its nuclear and missile tests.

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North Korea also conducted its fifth nuclear test last month and in all has launched more than 20 ballistic missiles this year, part of its program aimed at improving the delivery system for nuclear weapons.

Obama has vowed to work with the United Nations to tighten sanctions against North Korea, but has also said that the U.S. was still open to dialogue if the government changes course.

The U.S. strategy has largely centered on trying to get China, North Korea's closest ally, to use its influence to persuade the North to change course.

Previously in August, Japanese and South Korean officials said a medium-range ballistic missile flew about 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) and landed near Japan's territorial waters.