North Korean missile test fails
A North Korean missile “blew up almost immediately” on its test launch on Sunday, the U.S. Pacific Command said, hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence landed in South Korea for talks on the North’s increasingly defiant arms program.
The failed launch from North Korea’s east coast, ignoring admonitions from major ally China, came a day after North Korea held a grand military parade in its capital, marking the birth anniversary of the state founder, displaying what appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles.
South Korea said the combined show of force “threatened the whole world” but a U.S. foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence on Air Force Two appeared to defuse some of the tension, saying the test of what was believed to be a medium-range missile had come as no surprise.
“We had good intelligence before the launch and good intelligence after the launch,” the adviser told reporters on condition of anonymity.
“It’s a failed test. It follows another failed test. So really no need to reinforce their failure. We don’t need to expend any resources against that.”The adviser said the missile’s flight lasted four or five seconds.
“It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when. The good news is that after five seconds it fizzled out.”Pence is in Seoul at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia in what his aides said was a sign of U.S. commitment to its ally in the face of rising tension.
The U.S. nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group is also heading to the region.
A U.S. Navy attack on a Syrian airfield this month raised questions about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for reclusive North Korea, which has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions, regularly threatening to destroy the South and the United States.
South Korea, which hosts 28,500 U.S. troops, warned of punitive action if the launch led to further provocations.
“North Korea showing a variety of offensive missiles at yesterday’s military parade and daring to fire a ballistic missile today is a show of force that threatens the whole world,” South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.