North Korea missile launch attempt fails, South Korea military reports


Seoul: North Korea attempted to launch a missile on Sunday near Sinpo, on its east coast, but it is believed to have failed, South Korea’s military said.

The attempted missile launch comes a day after the North held a military parade in its capital marking the birth anniversary of the state founder where what appeared to be new ballistic missiles were displayed.

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“The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from near the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed,” the South’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

There were no further details, and the office said it was analysing the launch.

Hawaii News Now reported the US Pacific Command saying it was likely  a medium-range ballistic missile. It detected and tracked the missile and determined there was no threat to North America.

The missile was tracked for just under 10 minutes, when it landed in the Sea of Japan.

“US Pacific Command is fully committed to working closely with our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies to maintain security,” said US Pacific Commander Dave Benham.

The North launched a ballistic missile from the same region earlier this month ahead of a summit meeting between the leaders of the United States and China, its key ally, to discuss the North’s increasingly defiant arms program.

Tension had escalated sharply in the region amid concerns that the reclusive North may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test or a ballistic missile test launch timed with the April 15 anniversary it calls the “Day of the Sun” – an event to commemorate North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung

The White House has said US President Donald Trump has put the North “on notice” while the possibility of US military action against Pyongyang has gained traction following US strikes against Syria on April 7.

Trump has ordered a navy strike group flagshipped by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to head to the region as a show of force as his officials assess tougher economic sanctions as well as military options against the North.

The North has in turn warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked.

US Vice President Mike Pence arrives in South Korea on Sunday as part of a 10-day trip to Asia, in what his aides said was a sign of the US commitment to its ally in the face of rising tensions over the North’s weapons programs.

Reuters, with Kirsty Needham

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