North Korea’s latest missile failed to launchNorth Korea fired a missile off its east coast Wednesday morning but it appears to have ended in failure, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said.
A ministry official said the North “tried to launch a projectile from Wonsan in Kangwon Province, but it didn’t fly.”
Further information was not given, such as what type of missile it was. Military officials said they were looking into it.
Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command, said in a statement that the missile “appears to have exploded within seconds of launch,” according to Reuters.
Wonsan is a common location for the North to test-fire intermediate range ballistic missiles. Joseph S. Bermudez, an analyst on North Korean defense and intelligence affairs, wrote on the website 38 North that if Pyongyang were to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile, one possible location would be the Kalma missile test site near this eastern coastal city.
The latest firing of a missile is North Korea’s third time this year and comes 16 days after the most recent one. Pyongyang pushed through its first ballistic missile test on Feb. 12 with an intermediate range projectile that peaked at an altitude of 550 kilometers (342 miles) and flew 500 kilometers before crashing into the East Sea.
On March 6, it test-fired four Scud-ER missiles off its eastern coast, three of which fell into waters within Japan’s exclusive economic zone; they all reached an altitude of about 260 kilometers and flew 1,000 kilometers.
The possibility of a sixth nuclear experiment by the North was recently raised by 38 North, which cited satellite imagery near the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. If true, one possible date could be April 16, the anniversary of the birth of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, current leader Kim Jong-un’s grandfather. North Korea has a practice of celebrating significant anniversaries with a display of its military capabilities.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]