What many are deeming an increase in political instability within the country, Sunday morning saw a North Korean ballistic missile fired but exploding almost immediately after launching, U.S. military officials said, less than a day after leader Kim Jong Un paraded a never-before-seen long-range ballistic missile through the streets of Pyongyang.
The launch was at 5:51am in Sinpo on the east coast of North Korea. The missile was not an intercontinental ballistic missile according to a United States official reporting to The Wall Street Journal.
“Cmdr. Benham said the type of missile that was fired Sunday was still being assessed. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, who confirmed the failed launch, also said they were working on analysing the type of missile.”
The North Korean director of national security, Kim Kwan-jin, organised a special meeting for the security situation. North Korea is seen to be moving forward with its new weapons program based on the launch.
Even with the launch, it is seen as a show of resolve. “U.S. President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang against any bellicose behaviour, and the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier group into the waters around the Korean Peninsula.”
Jim Mattis, secretary of defence said, “The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch…The president has no further comment.”
The foreign ministry of South Korea warned against further launches or escalations from North Korea because these would be met with “strong punitive measures.”
Xinhua News Agency reported that the top Chinese diplomat, Yang Jiechi, who is a state councillor, was in discussions with the U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson. They talked on the phone about the situation in the Korean Peninsula.
“Japan on Sunday lodged a protest with North Korea over the launch via its embassy in Beijing, while Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called on China to make further efforts to rein in its volatile neighbour, according to public broadcaster NHK.”
Vice president for the U.S., Mike Pence, landed in Seoul after the failed test launch. He will be travelling through Australia, Indonesia, and Japan. “Recent satellite imagery suggests North Korea may be preparing a sixth nuclear test at Punggye-ri, where the recorded blasts have escalated in strength since the first one in 2006.”
“North Korea’s failed launch on Sunday was its eighth missile to be tested this year. North Korea’s first launch in 2017, in February, came as Mr. Trump was meeting in Florida with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and was the country’s first attempt at a solid-fueled missile, which can be fired with little advance warning.”