North Korean test missile explodes on launch


"The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from near the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed", the South's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

A report from the Washington Post described Kim Jong-un's demeanor at the North Korean military parade, as he appeared unflappable, "smiling and laughing" as thousands of soldiers marched and 105 planes - the latter number representing the anniversary of Kim Il-sung's birth - flew by in a formation.

During the three days that Pence will spend in South Korea, multiple issues including countering Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs and matters related to the deployment of the THAAD could be discussed, experts told NK News.

"Vice-President Pence will nearly certainly be asked about US intentions for military strikes against North Korea, and on this Pence will likely play a balancing act", Tristan Webb, a senior analyst for NK Pro and a former senior DPRK research analyst for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), said.

The White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence told reporters that the type of missile that North Korea tried to fire on Sunday was medium-range, and that it exploded about 4 to 5 seconds after it was launched.

"At present, we are in close contact with the United States and South Korea and in addition to urging (the North) to refrain from provocative actions and observe relevant UN Security Council resolutions, we will take all necessary steps to protect our people's lives and assets", Suga said.

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It wasnt immediately clear what kind of missile was test-fired from the east coast city of Sinpo.

In the midst of increasing tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, President Donald Trump this past week deployed the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, along with its associated strike group of vessels, to the waters near North Korea.

Analysts warn that even failed missile launches provide valuable knowledge to North Korea as it tries to build its weapons program. That launch came shortly before Trumps first meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He has repeatedly said if China, North Korea's dominant trading partner, is unwilling to do more to pressure the North, the USA might take the matter into its own hands.

The extended-range Scud missile in that earlier launch suffered an in-flight failure and fell into the sea off North Korea's east coast, according to US imagery and assessments.

USPACOM is fully committed to working closely with its allies in the Republic of Korea and in Japan to maintain security, Benham said.

Six-nation negotiations on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program in exchange for aid fell apart in early 2009.