U.S. says it detected and tracked a failed North Korean missile launch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military detected and tracked what it has assessed was a failed North Korean missile launch, a Defense Department spokesman said on Thursday. The launch at 3:33 p.m. CDT/2033 GMT on Thursday was detected by U.S. Strategic Command systems, the spokesman said in a statement. According to North American Aerospace Defense Command, the missile did not pose a threat to North America, the statement said. A spokesman for the Strategic Command said he had no details about the type of missile launched. "We'll probably let North Korea characterize it themselves," he said. The U.S. State Department has seen the reports and is closely monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula, a department official said. "We call again on North Korea to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps towards fulfilling its international commitments and obligations," the official said. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)