Thursday, 26 April, 2018

North Korean test missile explodes on launch

Melissa Porter | 17 April, 2017, 06:17

"This is the same location as Pyongyang's latest missile launch 11 days ago, when another missile was said to have failed after flying some 60 km into the waters between Korea and Japan", Lee reports.

Along with the deployment of the Naval aircraft carrier and other vessels into waters off the Korean Peninsula, thousands of US and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry were also deployed last month in their biggest-ever joint military exercises. Trump chose not to provide any comment on the matter, a point which was reinforced by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in a terse statement of his own.

Meanwhile, ahead of the "Day of the Sun" celebrations set for the next day, North Korea's military threatened a "merciless response" to any provocation from the U.S., according to AFP.

The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement that Sunday's missile exploded on launch.

The failed launch from the east coast came a day after North Korea held a military parade in its capital, marking the birth anniversary of the state founder, in which what appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles were on display.

"The Vice President is going to underscore intent - we're going to continue to consult with the Republic of Korea on North Korea's efforts to advance its ballistic missile and its nuclear program", the White House said on Friday during an official briefing.

Due to the timing of the North Korean display of belligerence, the ongoing deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula would nearly certainly come up in the course of discussions between two sides, a Seoul-based military expert said.

Pence is due in Seoul at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia in what his aides said was a sign of the USA commitment to its ally in the face of rising tension over North Korea.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two past year.

Kim has overseen three nuclear tests and a string of missile and rocket launches since taking over after the death of his father, dictator Kim Jong Il, in late 2011. That launch came shortly before Trump's 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 United States might take the matter into its own hands.

Despite Sunday's failure, the North's previous claim to have used "standardized" warheads has led to worries that it was making headway in its push to develop small and sophisticated warheads to be topped on long-range missiles.

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