TEHRAN (Press Shia) – North Korea Thursday conducted what appeared to be a failed test – its second in a week – of a powerful medium-range missile that experts warn could be deployed as early as next year.

South Korean and US military monitors said the missile – believed to be an intermediate-range Musudan – exploded shortly after take-off at around 6:30 a.m. Pyongyang time, AFP reported.

The attempted launch followed a meeting in Washington between the US and South Korean defense and foreign ministers, at which US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that any use of nuclear weapons by the North would be "met with an effective and overwhelming response."

It was the second failed launch in less than a week of the Musudan, which has a theoretical range of anywhere between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometers (1,500 and 2,500 miles).

The lower estimate covers the whole of South Korea and Japan, while the upper range would include US military bases on Guam.