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North Korean flag Reuters

U.S. officials said on Wednesday that the missile launched by North Korea appeared to be a liquid-fueled, extended-range Scud missile, which only traveled a fraction of its range, Reuters reported.

The missile test occurred early Wednesday morning. The missile flew about 60 km (40 miles) from its launch site at Sinpo, a port city on North Korea's east coast.

Initially, U.S. and South Korean militaries said assessments indicated the latest launch was of a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile, which would have been the same kind North Korea test-launched in February.

"We are now certain it was a liquid-fueled Scud," a senior White House official told Reuters, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

"It spun out of control after going only a fraction of its range," the official added.

The launch came just ahead of a summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping this week. The two leaders are likely to discuss adding more pressure on the North to drop its arms development.

The reported launch is the latest in a series of provocations from North Korea. The country tested a powerful new rocket engine in mid-March. The test was hailed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as a "new birth" for the nation's rocket industry.

Officials subsequently said North Korea had conducted another ballistic missile engine test, this time testing engine technology could possibly be used in an eventual intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Earlier in March, Pyongyang fired ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan's northwest coast, in what was claimed to be a training exercise for a strike on American bases in Japan.

North Korea’s tests are in violation of the sanctions that the UN Security Council has imposed on it, but Pyongyang has been undeterred by the sanctions.