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Alleged North Korea Missile Launch Fails, Says South Korea

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North Korea fired an “unknown projectile” on Wednesday that appeared to misfire immediately after launch, the South Korean military said after Japanese media reported a suspected missile launch by the nuclear-armed North.

The launch comes after the United States and South Korea warned that North Korea may be preparing to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at full speed for the first time since 2017.

The projectile was fired from an airfield outside the North Korean capital Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

“It is presumed to have failed immediately after launch,” the statement said.

A Japanese Defense Ministry source called the projectile a potential ballistic missile, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

The airfield has been the site of several recent launches, including on February 27 and March 5. North Korea said those tests were to develop components for a reconnaissance satellite and did not identify which rocket it used, but Seoul and Washington said they were tests. of a new ICBM system.

Isolated North Korea has fired missiles with unprecedented frequency this year, conducting its ninth weapons test on March 5, drawing condemnation from the United States, South Korea and Japan. read full story

The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln conducted military exercises in the Yellow Sea, and the air defense artillery at South Korea’s Osan air base intensified the drills in response to increased North Korean missile activity, the U.S. military said Tuesday. US forces in Asia.

The new ICBM system, the Hwasong-17, was unveiled at a military parade in 2020 and reappeared at a defense exhibition in October 2021.

Launches on February 27 and March 5 did not demonstrate the missile’s full range, and analysts said North Korea may have used only one stage of the missile or adjusted its fuel volume to fly at lower altitudes.

The Hwasong-17 would be North Korea’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile yet, and the government appears to be restoring some tunnels at its closed nuclear test site, US and South Korean officials said last week. read full story

North Korea has not tested an intercontinental ballistic missile or nuclear bomb since 2017, but has said it may resume such tests because denuclearization talks with the United States are stalled.

regional response

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi discussed North Korea in Rome on Monday during talks that focused on Ukraine.

A senior US official said the two discussed how to ensure there would soon be follow-up talks to earlier talks between US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim and his Chinese counterpart Liu. Xiaoming, on ways to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

The official said Washington had “serious concerns about recent escalation actions” by North Korea, and Sullivan made clear to Yang the steps the United States believed were necessary.

Last week, the United States and 10 other countries lamented the failure of the UN Security Council, where China has veto power, to condemn North Korea’s repeated missile launches, saying this eroded the credibility of the council and the global non-proliferation regime. read full story

Washington imposed new North Korea-related sanctions on Friday, targeting Russian individuals and companies after the two recent launches. read full story

Punitive steps by the United States and international sanctions at the United Nations in the past have failed to stop North Korea’s weapons development.

Russia and China, which backed UN sanctions after North Korea’s latest ICBM and nuclear tests in 2017, have since argued that sanctions should be eased to encourage dialogue.

(REUTERS)


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