North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Saturday, but the test failed as the projectile exploded shortly after lift-off, the South Korean military said on Sunday.
The North's Hwasong-10 missile, also known as Musudan, was launched at 12.33pm local time near an airfield in the north-western city of Kusong, the South said in a statement.
United Nations resolutions prohibit North Korea from using ballistic missile technology, and this latest test came as the UN Security Council was debating fresh sanctions on Pyongyang following its fifth nuclear test
The failed test came on the day Seoul and Washington concluded a large-scale joint naval drill against the North.
Saturday's test was the first involving the Hwasong-10 since North Korea successfully launched the same missile in June. North Korea has had a spotty record with Hwasong-10 test flights.
The June launch was the first successful test after five failures.
The projectile flew about 402km over the sea between North Korea and Japan, reaching an altitude of 1,413km.
That test alarmed the U.S. and its allies in the region. Their defence officials said the missile's launch at a sharp angle prevented it from falling too close to Japan but still demonstrated its potential to reach an estimated range of more than 3,200km.
The Hwasong-10 is the North's only tested missile with a range long enough to reach U.S. military bases in Guam in the Pacific, and in South Korea and Japan.
After the June test, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un boasted that his country had the capability to strike those bases. But Saturday's failure indicated that North Korea had yet to perfect its Hwasong-10 system.
The Hwasong-10 is a road-mobile missile, so it can be moved around the country and hidden in tunnels, making it more difficult to target in a pre-emptive strike.