A second USA official said the launch was land-based.
Pence is due in Seoul at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia in what his aides said was a sign of the US commitment to its ally in the face of rising tension.
A White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence said no US response to the missile launch was expected because there was no need for the U.S.to reinforce the failure.
In recent months, a series of top US officials have visited South Korea amid concerns that security cooperation between the allies could slacken in the wake of the March 10 ouster of former President Park Geun-hye over a corruption scandal.
North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two a year ago. Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site obtained by 38 North, a program devoted to analysis of the country at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, showed activity at the site suggestive of preparations for a nuclear test.
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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in South Korea at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia that comes amid turmoil along the Korean Peninsula over North Korea's threats to advance its growing nuclear and defense capabilities.
Despite Sunday's failure, the North's previous claim to have used "standardized" warheads has led to worries that it was making headway in its push to develop small and sophisticated warheads to be topped on long-range missiles. It then may activate air or naval assets and larger ballistic missiles that can target South Korean, Japanese or American bases in the region with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
North Korea on Sunday failed in a missile launch from its eastern coast, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, but it wasn't immediately clear what kind of missile was sacked. "The president has no further comment".
More directly on North Korea, the president returned to a theme of placing much onus on China for reining in the North. "If they are unable to do so, the USA, with its allies, will!" he tweeted Thursday.
"We will respond with an all-out war to (the USA attempt) for a full-scale war and nuclear attacks with nuclear strikes", Choe said in a speech quoted by the South Korean Yonhap news agency on Saturday.
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It wasn't immediately clear what kind of missile was sacked from the city of Sinpo, but the failure will sting in Pyongyang because it comes a day after one of the biggest North Korean propaganda events of the year- celebrations of the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather.
North Korea's ultimate goal is to have a full array of nuclear-tipped missiles in response to what Pyongyang says is hostility by Washington and Seoul meant to topple its government.
Japan's National Security Council discussed how to evacuate its almost 60,000 citizens from South Korea in the event of a crisis, a government official said on Friday (April 14), amid rising concern over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme. The U.S. Pacific Command said the missile blew up nearly immediately and South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said they were investigating for further details.
Kim Jong Un has overseen three nuclear tests and a string of missile and rocket launches since taking over after the death of his father, dictator Kim Jong Il, in late 2011.
On Friday, the day before North Korea's military parade, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged both the United States and North Korea to restrain themselves, calling on both sides to stop provoking and threatening each other.
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