South Korea: Suspected North Korean missile launch failed

South Korea’s military said North Korea fired an “unidentified projectile” on Wednesday that appeared to fail immediately after launch, after Japanese media reported the launch of a suspected missile by the nuclear-powered North.

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

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the projectile was fired from an airport outside Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

“It is assumed that it failed immediately after launch,” the statement said.

The Japanese Broadcasting Corporation reported that a source in the Japanese Defense Ministry described the missile as a possible ballistic missile.

The airport has been the site of several recent launches, including on February 27 and March 5. North Korea said these tests were to develop components for a reconnaissance satellite and did not specify which missile it was using, but Seoul and Washington said they were tests of a missile. New intercontinental ballistic missile system.

ReclusiveNorthKorea has launched missiles with unprecedented frequency this year, and conducted its ninth weapons test on March 5, drawing condemnation from the United States, South Korea and Japan.

US forces in Asia said on Tuesday the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln led military exercises in the Yellow Sea and air defense artillery at Osan Air Base in South Korea in response to North Korea’s increased missile activity.

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

The February 27 and March 5 launches did not show the full range of the missile, and analysts said the North used only one stage of the missile or adjusted the volume of fuel to fly at lower altitudes.

US and South Korean officials said last week that the Hwasong-17 would be North Korea’s largest ICBM to date, and the government appears to be working on renovating some tunnels at the closed nuclear test site.

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

regional response

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi discussed North Korea talks in Rome on Monday that focused on Ukraine.

A senior US official said the two discussed ensuring follow-up talks would soon take place between previous discussions between US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim and his Chinese counterpart, Liu Xiaoming, on ways to pressure Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program.

The official said Washington had “serious concerns about recent escalatory measures” 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 United Nations Security Council – where China holds a veto – to condemn North Korea’s repeated missile launches, saying this eroded the council’s credibility and the global non-proliferation regime.

On Friday, Washington imposed new sanctions related to North Korea, targeting Russian individuals and companies after the two recent launches.

Previous US punitive steps and international sanctions at the United Nations failed to stop North Korea’s weapons development.

Since then, Russia and China, which backed UN sanctions after North Korea’s last ICBM and nuclear tests in 2017, have argued that sanctions relief to encourage dialogue.

(Reuters)

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