Former British foreign minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind, suggested Sunday (16 April) that the US was behind North Korea's failed missile launch. Sir Malcolm said he believed a US cyber attack sabotaged the missile, causing it to explode seconds after launching.

"It could have failed because the system is not competent enough to make it work, but there is a very strong belief that the US — through cyber methods — has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail," the former MP told the BBC.

He continued: "But don't get too excited by that, they've also had quite a lot of successful tests. They are an advanced country when it comes to their nuclear weapons programme. That still remains a fact - a hard fact."

In an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) cautiously dismissed Sir Malcolm's claim that the US sabotaged the launch. According to the New York Post, when asked if the US has the capability to do that, McCain replied: "I don't think so, but I wouldn't rule it out."

Sir Malcolm's remarks come as the Foreign Office expressed concern over North Korea's missile testing and said it was monitoring the situation closely. Prior to Pyongyang's launch attempt, Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said: "We have been here before but continue to monitor the situation carefully.

"We stand alongside our international partners in making clear that North Korea must adhere to UN resolutions designed to secure peace and stability in the region and stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons."

North Korea attempted to launch a land-based ballistic missile off of its east coast on Sunday, but the US said the missile exploded almost immediately, the BBC reported. The launch attempt came after Pyongyang warned the US that it would not shy away from conflict, as it showed off its annual parade of missiles and rocket launchers through the streets of the capital.

US President Donald Trump has asked China to help with North Korea, but also indicated the US could act alone to deal with a North Korean nuclear threat.

Vice President Mike Pence is currently visiting South Korea as part of a 10-day tour of Asia. In a statement to reporters while visiting the demilitarized zone between the Koreas, Pence said North Korea "should not mistake the resolve" of the US to stand with its allies.