Reports from North Korea point to a failed missile test, one day after officials unveiled several intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and other weapons at a military parade.
According to a report from BBC News, U.S. and South Korean officials confirmed that the North Korean missile “blew up immediately” while it was being tested on the country’s east coast on Sunday morning, Korea time. This test came on the heels of North Korean officials threatening to “hit back with nuclear attacks” against the U.S., and widespread speculation that the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, may likely order another nuclear test to add to the five it has already conducted.
In a succinct quote shared by BBC News, U.S. Navy Commander Dave Benham described what had happened during North Korea’s failed missile test.
“The missile blew up almost immediately.”
South Korea’s defense ministry also issued a short statement on the matter, saying that North Korea tried, and failed, to properly test “an unidentified type of missile” from the eastern part of Sinpo. According to CBS News, the missile fired was not an ICBM, though U.S. and South Korean officials are trying to find out what kind of missile was used in the failed launch.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 16, 2017
Citing a report from South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, Reuters wrote Saturday that the North Korean military parade, which celebrated the 105th birth anniversary of founding North Korean president Kim Il-sung, featured a number of missiles on display at the capital city of Pyongyang, including some “new types” of ICBM. The parade was attended by Kim Jong-un, and the strongman’s presence was enough for speculation to fire up regarding the possibility of a sixth nuclear test.
A report from the Washington Post described Kim Jong-un’s demeanor at the North Korean military parade, as he appeared unflappable, “smiling and laughing” as thousands of soldiers marched and 105 planes – the latter number representing the anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s birth – flew by in a formation. And as he looked on unperturbed, Kim’s second-in-command Choe Ryong-hae cut a speech where he threatened to retaliate with an “all-out war and a nuclear war of our own.”
North Korea has attempted to launch a missle, all reports are that they have utterly failed. U.S.A.????????????????
— Democracy_not_trump (@peace_not_trump) April 15, 2017
Ultimately, North Korea hopes that it could reach various targets around the world by firing a missile equipped with a nuclear warhead. And while experts are highly skeptical of the claim, the country’s officials have hinted that they have created smaller versions of nuclear warheads that could easily be outfitted on missiles.
While further details of North Korea’s missile test failure remain largely unknown, CNN noted that the test was done at Sinpo shipyard, a place where submarine activity typically takes place. This was the same site used in an earlier missile test from earlier in April, where the projectile had landed underneath the Sea of Japan.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is on his way to Seoul, South Korea, for a 10-day visit to the country that had long been planned in advance.
#NorthKorea failed missile test,with eyes on them&in current climate this will be perceived as weakness,expect more launches in coming hours
— The War Reporter (@TheWarOfNow) April 15, 2017
The Washington Post wrote that the North Korean missile, which was fired at around 6 a.m. local time, was launched just as Pence’s flight lifted off from Alaska to Seoul. Pence is expected “to issue a strong warning” to North Korea, and possibly tell officials to stop showing off its weapons or “face (the) consequences.”
Reports suggest that President Donald Trump has been made aware of North Korea’s failed missile launch, though he was looking forward to enjoying the Easter weekend without any matters of importance to deal with. Trump chose not to provide any comment on the matter, a point which was reinforced by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in a terse statement of his own.
“The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment.”
[Featured Image by Ng Han Guan/AP Images]