The recently failed missile test by North Korea was detected by the US and in the botched test the missile exploded within seconds of launch, the US military said.
While the South Korean government also issued a statement about the failed launch, the US statement reveals more information. The US said that its Pacific Command detected what they deem was a failed North Korean missile launch attempt in the vicinity of Kalma. The missile appeared to have exploded within seconds of launch and work is underway to carry out more assessment, the US military said.
The South Korean defence ministry added they were also busy with their own analysis of the failed launch. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports the missile may have exploded as it was launched, before reaching an altitude at which it could be detected by South Korean radar.
US and South Korea are already discussing their plan of action and response to the increased missiles testing by North Korea as part of the country’s weapons programmes. North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and a series of missile launches since the beginning of last year in defiance of UN resolutions. It is believed to be working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States.
Earlier on Wednesday, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported North Korea may have launched several missiles from an area on its east coast, citing a Japanese government source. The launch may have failed, Kyodo said, adding that the type of missile involved was not known.
Last week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Japan, South Korea and China and how to handle North Korea was a major issue in his talks. Tillerson said all options, including a military one, were on the table if North Korea threatened South Korean or US forces.
North Korea launched four ballistic missiles from near its west coast on March 6 and this week conducted a rocket engine test that its leader, Kim Jong Un, said opened “a new birth” of its rocket industry.