The launch is the latest in a succession of missile tests from Pyongyang since its fourth nuclear test in January was met with strict sanctions by the UN Security Council.

North Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile today, the South Korean defence ministry has said, in a move that has been condemned by the UK and US.

The launch is the latest in a succession of missile tests from Pyongyang since its fourth nuclear test in January was met with strict sanctions by the UN Security Council.

The test on Saturday in the sea of Japan was confirmed by the ministry of defence spokesman who said the missile flew 18 miles but ‘appeared to have failed’.

Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said the launch showed a ‘blatant disregard’ for North Korea’s international obligations, while the move was also denounced in the US.

North Korea is yet to report the test in its own official media.

It has claimed previously to have developed nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles but experts doubt their validity.

There is concern that the nation could be gearing up for a fifth nuclear test ahead of its first party congress in almost four decades.

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