North Korean missile ‘blows up’ on test launch as US Vice President Mike Pence heads for South

The failed launch from North Korea's east coast, ignoring admonitions from major ally China, came a day after North Korea held a military parade in its capital, marking the birth anniversary of the state founder.

By: Reuters | Seoul | Updated: April 16, 2017 7:35 am
north korea, north korea flag, north korea latest news, indian express The North launched a ballistic missile from the same region earlier this month ahead of a summit between the leaders of the United States and China to discuss the North’s arms programme. (The North Korea national flag. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)

A North Korean missile “blew up almost immediately” on its test launch on Sunday, the US Pacific Command said, hours before US Vice President Mike Pence was due in South Korea for talks on the North’s increasingly defiant arms programme. The failed launch from North Korea’s east coast, ignoring admonitions from major ally China, came a day after North Korea held a military parade in its capital, marking the birth anniversary of the state founder, in which what appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles were on display. Pence is due in Seoul at the start 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 tension over North Korea.

The US nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group is also heading to the region. The North has warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked. It has said it has developed and would launch a missile that can strike the mainland United States but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology. “The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from near the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed,” South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The US Pacific Command said the missile “blew up almost immediately”, adding the type of missile was being analysed. There was a high degree of confidence it was not an intercontinental ballistic missile, a US official said on condition of anonymity. A second US official said the launch was land-based. The timing of the test, coinciding with Pence’s trip and a day after the military parade, would suggest deliberate defiance.

Pence had been briefed on the failed launch en route to Seoul and had been in touch with President Donald Trump, White House aides said. South Korea said it would convene a national security council meeting on Sunday.

China calls for talks

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency cited an unidentified South Korean intelligence source as saying the missile appeared to have not flown far from its land-based launch site. The North launched a ballistic missile from the same region earlier this month ahead of a summit between the leaders of the United States and China to discuss the North’s arms programme. That missile flew about 60 km (40 miles) but what US officials said appeared to be a liquid-fuelled, extended-range Scud missile only travelled a fraction of its range before spinning out of control.

China has spoken out against North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests and has supported UN sanctions. China on Friday again called for talks to defuse the crisis. A US Navy attack on a Syrian airfield this month with Tomahawk missiles raised questions about Trump’s plans for reclusive North Korea, which has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of UN sanctions, regularly threatening to destroy the United States.

Sinpo, where the Sunday launch took place, is the site of a North Korean submarine base and where the North has tested the submarine-launched ballistic missile it is developing. “It appears today’s launch was already scheduled for re-launching after the earlier test-firing,” said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul. “This launch can possibly be a test for a new type of missile or an upgrade,” Kim said.

Tension had escalated sharply in the region amid concerns that the North may conduct a sixth nuclear test or a ballistic missile test launch around the April 15 anniversary it calls the “Day of the Sun”. The White House has said Trump has put the North “on notice”. Impoverished North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The North regularly threatens to destroy the South and the South’s main ally, the United States.

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  1. A
    Ajitdada
    Apr 16, 2017 at 5:03 pm
    First of all it is not NKs missile.NK is a test ground for Chinese toys. Also it check the major super powers political response. All is Chinese game plan. As expected Chinese goods fail when they needed most.
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    1. C
      CClements
      Apr 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm
      With two mad men in Trump and Kim Jong Un, anything can happen. Just cannot trust China playing the double game.
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      1. Alif Hakimi
        Apr 16, 2017 at 9:46 am
        India is North Korea's ally and supporting North Korea quietly and secretly. India secretly transferred missile technologies to North Korea through Vietnam. India is North Korea's second largest export destination. And 99 of South Asia's terrorists are of Indian origin. Everyone of them, their parents and ancestors were Indian Dalits who were discriminated under India's Hinduism since their birth. They converted to Islam to avoid being discriminated and labelled as ' untouchable ' human beings under Hinduism. Most of them then become terrorists and launch revenges on India for discrimination they and their parents suffered in India.
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        1. S
          sochee
          Apr 16, 2017 at 2:43 pm
          Mia Suna hai tumhare mulk me charas aur afing bahot uga jata hai aur tum duniya ki supply karte ho. Kisi Jamana that jab tumhare pm benjir Bhutto khud apni plane se atom bomb banane ki saman North Korea le ee thi bechne ke liye.Ab yeah puria bechna bandh karo.Behtr hai charas aur afing becho. Mullins Ko wohi bhata hai.
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          1. C
            CClements
            Apr 16, 2017 at 3:09 pm
            The ethnicity of a stani is Indian. In fact, all peoples of the Indian subcontinent are genetically Indian. You are a stani national, but Indian by heritage. I hope you learned something today. Have a good evening.
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          2. M
            mtv
            Apr 16, 2017 at 9:46 am
            These foolish Americans can never judge the cunning China who support all evil forces of the world such as North Korea, stan etc. They use these small terrorist countries as bargain chips against their adversaries like USA, India, an etc. Without Chinese support, stan and North Korea cannot act the way they are doing. So China should be targeted first if anybody is serious about North Korea, stan etc. They are root cause of many problems in the world now.
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            1. M
              mtv
              Apr 16, 2017 at 9:47 am
              stan, I meant
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