North Korea will continue to work on its ambition of developing a nuclear missile capable of targeting the west coast of the US mainland, the country's state media reiterated on the same day its latest missile test ended in a failure.

"The large territory that is the United States has been entirely exposed to our pre-emptive nuclear strike means," the Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Saturday (29 April).

Military officials in South Korea and the US confirmed that Pyongyang launched a missile test — believed to be a medium-range ballistic missile KN-17 — on Saturday, but it was the second failed test in a month. The missile appeared to have exploded soon after it was launched.

The failed missile test comes as tensions run high in the Korean peninsula, especially after US President Donald Trump ordered the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to the region in a bid to rein in the belligerent Kim Jong-un regime.

The Rodong Sinmum also referred to the deployment of Carl Vinson and said that "rendering aircraft carriers useless is not even a problem" for the North's military.

Reactions to the failed launch

The latest missile launch has triggered an angry response from South Korea, the US and Japan.

Condemning the launch, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga said: "North Korea's ballistic missile launch is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. We immediately lodged a strong protest with Pyongyang through its embassy in Beijing."

"The government sternly warns North Korea, if it continues playing with fire like this [missile launch] and rejecting denuclearisation, it will face strong punitive measures on various levels including the UN Security Council," South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman, Cho June-Hyuck warned.

North Korea missile launch
The test came as Rex Tillerson warned the UN Security Council that failure to curb North Korea's nuclear programs could lead to 'catastrophic consequences' Reuters

Trump did not comment on the missile test soon after he returned to the White House from a day trip to Atlanta. However, he later took to Twitter to condemn the missile launch.

"North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!" Trump tweeted.

Tokyo metro briefly suspended

Following the launch, Japan is reported to have closed one of its major subways in Tokyo for 10 minutes early on Saturday. The temporary suspension of nine metro lines reportedly affected 13,000 passengers, Tokyo Metro official Hiroshi Takizawa said, according to AP.

It was the first time that metro services were stopped in response to a missile test from North Korea, Takizawa said. The services were re-opened after Shinzo Abe's government learnt that there was no threat to Japan because of the missile launch.

China cannot act alone

Just hours before the missile test, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the UN Security Council during a meeting on North Korea that Beijing would not act alone to solve the tensions in the Korean peninsula.

"The key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula does not lie in the hands of the Chinese side," Reuters cited Wang as saying.

The Trump administration has been relying on China to contain Pyongyang. However, China has criticised Washington's threat of military force against North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

Kim Jong-un north korea
The latest missile launch by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has triggered an angry response from South Korea, US and Japan Reuters

While China has been asking for a dialogue before taking action, the US has been demanding that North Korea rein in its nuclear programmes even before holding any talks.

"It is necessary to put aside the debate over who should take the first step and stop arguing who is right and who is wrong. Now is the time to seriously consider resuming talks," Wang told the council.

China is yet to react to the latest failed missile launch from North Korea.