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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea apparently tried but failed Thursday to fire a mid-range ballistic missile for the second time in two weeks, a South Korean military official said.

The report comes amid speculation that the North is planning a fifth nuclear test ahead of a ruling Workers’ Party Congress next week, the first in 36 years.

The missile was believed to be the same model as one that failed on April 15, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. It was launched around 6:40 a.m. from the eastern port city of Wonsan, he said.

“We believe that it failed. It seems to have fallen a few seconds after being launched,” the official said. However, he stressed that the South Korean and the U.S. militaries were still investigating.

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