US military detects failed N Korean missile launch
THE US military said 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 on October 15, was believed to be of a muchhyped Musudan missile which North Korea has now test-fired seven times, with one partial success.
Pentagon spokesperson 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.
Seoul’s defence ministry also confirmed the failed launch, held near an air base in the northwestern city of Kusong in North Korea.
First unveiled as an indigenous missile at a military parade in Pyongyang in October 2010, the Musudan has a theoretical range of anywhere between 2500 and 4000 kilometres (1550-2485 miles).
The lower estimate covers the whole of South Korea and Japan, while the upper range would include US military bases on Guam.
After five failed launches, North Korea test fired a Musudan in June 400km into the Sea of Japan (East Sea).
US weapons analysts say successful Musudan testing could help the nuclear-armed North develop an operational intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking the US mainland by 2020.
The North has publicly displayed an ICBM, called the KN-08, which uses the same technology as the Musudan but has never been test-fired.
The North Korean state media made no mention of the attempted launch, but the official KCNA news agency carried a foreign ministry statement warning that the United States would “pay a high price” for recent hostile behaviour that had “hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership”.