‘North Korean missile launch on founder Kim Il Sung’s birthday failed’

The failure is seen as a setback to the inaugural test of the new, mid-range missile.

April 15, 2016 09:54 am | Updated October 18, 2016 02:47 pm IST - SEOUL

A North Korea missile launch meant to celebrate the birthday of the country’s founder has apparently failed, South Korean and U.S. officials said on Friday, an embarrassing setback in what was reportedly the inaugural test of a new, powerful mid-range missile.

The U.S. and South Korean officials provided few details, including the type of missile. But South Korea’s Yonhap news agency carried an unsourced report that a “Musudan” missile, which could one day be capable of reaching far-off U.S. military bases in Asia and the Pacific, exploded in the air a few seconds after liftoff.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said that it appeared to be a Musudan missile but no definitive conclusion had been reached.

Despite the failure, the North has another Musudan loaded on a mobile launcher and Pyongyang will likely fire it, according to South Korean and U.S. authorities, Yonhap reported.

‘Another provocation’

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, speaking to reporters during a stop on the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, said while the U.S. deemed the launch to be unsuccessful, it “was nonetheless another provocation by North Korea in a region that doesn’t need that kind of behaviour.”

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