US, South Korea say latest N Korea missile launch fails

2016-10-16 06:34
Ballistic missiles launched during a drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea (File,AP).

Ballistic missiles launched during a drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea (File,AP).

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Seoul - South Korea and the US said on Sunday that the latest missile launch by North Korea ended in a failure after the projectile reportedly exploded soon after lift-off.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the military believes the North unsuccessfully attempted to fire a mid-range Musudan missile. It said the failed launch was made near an airport in the North's North Pyongan province.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said that the missile was believed to have exploded soon after lift-off. Yonhap cited no source for this information.

South Korea strongly condemns the launch because it violates UN Security Council resolutions that bans any ballistic activities by North Korea, the statement said.

The US military first reported the launch was attempted at 23:33 EDT on Friday (12:03 on Saturday local time) and that the missile didn't pose a threat to North America. The action brought harsh criticism from the US.

Japanese concerns

"We strongly condemn this and North Korea's other recent missile tests, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology," said Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesperson. He said the US would raise concerns at the UN.

"Our commitment to the defence of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, is ironclad," Ross said. "We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation."

Japan has expressed concern over the launches, and Defence Minister Tomomi Inada said on Sunday that she wants to work in co-operation with the US and South Korea to assure her country's security.

North Korea has claimed technical breakthroughs in its goal of developing a long-range nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental US. South Korean defence officials have said the North doesn't yet have such a weapon.

It's the latest in a series of moves by North Korea aimed apparently at displaying a show of force.

As recently as September, it fired three ballistic missiles off its east coast, timed to get the attention of world leaders including US President Barack Obama who were visiting the region for a series of summits.

The UN Security Council subsequently condemned those North Korean launches and threatened "further significant measures" if it refused to stop its nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea also conducted its fifth nuclear test in September and in all has launched more than 20 ballistic missiles this year, part of its programme aimed at improving the delivery system for nuclear weapons. Earlier this year, North Korea successfully launched a Musudan missile in June after several failed attempts.

Musudan has a range of 3 500km - enough to reach US military instalments in Japan and Guam.

Obama has vowed to work with the UN to tighten sanctions against North Korea, but has also said that the US was still open to dialogue if the government changes course.

The US strategy has largely centred on trying to get China, North Korea's traditional ally, to use its influence to persuade the North to change course.

North Korea is continuing missile test launches even as the UN Security Council is deliberating a further tightening of sanctions after the September nuclear test.

Previously in August, Japanese and South Korean officials said a medium-range ballistic missile flew about 1 000km and landed near Japan's territorial waters.

Read more on:    us  |  japan  |  north korea  |  security

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