North Korean missile launch fails again: South Korea

uni1464676385{BNN / SEOUL, South Korea} – A day after South Korean and Japanese officials prepared their defence against a possible missile launch by North Korea – officials have now said that North launched a missile on May 31, which is presumed to have failed.

South Korean officials revealed that the attempted launch reportedly took place from the country’s east coast, near the city of Wonson.

South Korean News Agency, Yonhap quoted officials as claiming that the missile was most probably an intermediate-range Musudan missile that was test fired from the same area where the previous Musudan tests had taken place.

The latest in the series of nuclear provocations by North Korea comes weeks after it proposed military talks with its neighbour, only to be rejected by South.

A day before the test, Yonhap quoted the country’s officials as claiming to have detected evidence of launch preparations and responding with combat readiness.

South Korea’s defence ministry too had confirmed the evidence in an official statement and a South Korea official said, “We’ve detected a sign and are tracking that. We are fully prepared.”

After the launch however, Yonhap quoted a South Korean government official as saying that the missile was likely to have exploded soon as it lifted off from a mobile launcher.

Meanwhile, Japan said that it had placed its military on intercept alert. The country’s public broadcaster, NHK said that Japan had ordered naval destroyers and was preparing the Patriot anti-ballistic missile batteries to “shoot down any projectile heading for the country.”

Reports claimed that this was the second time this year that Japan had placed its anti-ballistic missile forces on alert ahead of evidence of possible missile launches emerging from North Korea.

The NHK is further said to have added, “The Self-Defence Forces will deploy Aegis destroyers equipped with missile interceptors offshore and PAC-3 surface-to-air anti-ballistic missiles.”

Soon after the launch and its subsequent failure were reported, Japanese Minister of Defence Gen Nakatani addressed a media briefing and said, “We have no reports of any damage in Japan. We are gathering and analysing data. The defense ministry is prepared to respond to any situation. North Korea shows no sign of abandoning the development of nuclear missiles and so we will continue to work closely with the U.S. and South Korea in response and maintain a close watch on North Korea.”

Reports have previously stated that when fired successfully, the Musudan missile, with a range of 3,000-4,000 kms could reach targets in Japan, China and even the U.S. military bases in Guam.

Tensions in the Korean Peninsula aggravated after North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January 2016 claiming that it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb. North followed this with a satellite launch in February, irking the international community and provoking the ire of the United Nations, that imposed several sanctions of the reclusive nation. North’s sole ally, China too discouraged the nuclear program, making its disapproval known and urged Kim Jong Un’s government to return to international talks.

In the past few months, North Korea has sent out several threatening signs and military provocations to neighbour and long-standing enemy, South Korea and United States. The country had earlier claimed to have secured key intercontinental ballistic missile technologies like the re-entry and engine technologies and recently even threatened to conduct a “nuclear warhead detonation” test. Pyongyang had also announced that the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had inspected the final test fire of the 300-millimeter caliber rockets equipped with an accurate guidance system.

North Korea led at least three unsuccessful test launches of a similar intermediate-range Musudan missile in April, one that was reported just before the country’s rare Worker’s Party Congress.

Kim Jong Un then displayed the country’s nuclear might and the military progress at the Congress held in May 2016 declaring ironically that North Korea was a “responsible” nuclear weapons state.

Even though North Korea has proposed to hold military talks with South Korea twice already, Seoul has dismissed the proposal calling it ‘insincere.’

At the recent meeting of Group of Seven industrialised nations, the host Japan and U.S. demanded that North Korea refrain from provocations, halt all its nuclear tests and comply with the UN Security Council resolution READ MORE OF THIS STORY

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About Cholo Brooks 15600 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.