S Korea says N Korea fails mid-range missile test again

South Korean Defence Ministry says second test of North Korea mid-range 'Musudan' missile test has failed.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiles as he visits Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, for the testing of a new engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released by KCNA.

North Korea tested its mid-range ballistic missile "Musudan" but it crashed shortly after the test launch, the South Korean Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

According to an unnamed South Korean official the North Korean missile was fired 6:10 am on Thursday but the military was unable to confirm the exact time the missile exploded. 

The official said North Korea’s missile test was a second attempt to launch a missile capable of reaching US military bases in Asia and the Pacific, adding that the test looks to have been hurried to be launched before the Workers’ Party congress that begins on May 6.

A previous failed launch was conducted on April 15, on the birthday of North Korea’s founder Kim II Sung by his grandson and North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong Un. The US Defence Ministry called the attempt "fiery, catastrophic."

US President Barack Obama previously commented on North Korea's attempts at developing a mid-range missile, saying that if these tests are failing the state is gaining knowledge each time and US was taking the matter very seriously.

"North Korea continues to engage in continuous provocative behavior. They have been actively pursuing an nuclear program, an ability to launch nuclear weapon," Obama said.

The South Korean official, whose name was not mentioned, said the investigation was continuing but there was no further information about the launch.

TRT World’s Jack Barton reported from Seoul that there was "a lot of pressure" on the Workers’ Party ahead of the congress and many analysts were speculating that more missile tests were likely to be conducted by North Korea ahead of the May 6 congress.

South Korean state media said the missile was not detected by South Korean military radar because it did not fly above a few hundred metres and was instead spotted by a US satellite.

The South Korean Defence Ministry told Reuters it could not confirm that information.

North Korea's missile tests are in defiance of United Nations Security Council sanctions against the country, which were strengthened following a January nuclear test and a space rocket launch the following month.

On Saturday, North Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile, which travelled about 30 km (18 miles) off its east coast.

TRTWorld and agencies