US military detects failed N Korean missile launch
The US military said Saturday it had detected an unsuccessful launch by North Korea of a powerful medium-range missile capable of hitting US bases as far away as Guam. UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from using ballistic missile technology, and this latest test came as the UN Security Council is debating fresh sanctions on Pyongyang following its fifth nuclear test in September.
The US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) said the launch, detected just after midday Saturday Korea time, was believed to be of a much-hyped Musudan missile which North Korea has now test-fired seven times-with one partial success. Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross condemned what he called a clear violation of UN resolutions and urged Pyongyang to refrain from any further actions that might raise already elevated tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Seoul’s defense ministry also confirmed the failed launch, held near an air base in the northwestern city of Kusong in North Korea at 1203 Pyongyang time (0333 GMT). “This provocation only serves to increase the international community’s resolve to counter (North Korea’s) prohibited activities,” said Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross. “We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation,” Ross added.
Such launches are usually reported within hours or even minutes by the South Korean and US militaries, but Seoul’s defense ministry refused to say why the announcement came so long after the event. First unveiled as an indigenous missile at a military parade in Pyongyang in October 2010, the Musudan has a theoretical range of anywhere between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometers. — AFP
The US Navy’s USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier (CVN-76) arrives at the southeastern port city of Busan on October 16, 2016 after finishing a joint naval exercise with South Korean forces.