North Korea fails two missile tests in one day

2016-04-28 19:58
Travellers watch a TV screen broadcasting news on North Korea's rocket launch, at a railway station in Seoul. (Jung Yeon-Je, AFP)

Travellers watch a TV screen broadcasting news on North Korea's rocket launch, at a railway station in Seoul. (Jung Yeon-Je, AFP)

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Seoul - North Korea tried and failed to test fire two powerful, new mid-range ballistic missiles on Thursday, ahead of a landmark party congress that opens next week, South Korean media reported.

The Yonhap news agency said the North made a second attempt to fire a Musudan missile in the evening, after a similar test in the early morning ended with the missile plunging to earth.

The second launch also appeared to have failed, Yonhap said, citing an unnamed official from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

If confirmed, North Korea has now made three failed attempts in the past two weeks to test fire a Musudan, which is capable of striking US bases on the Pacific island of Guam.

The first attempt on April 15 - the birthday of founding leader Kim Il-Sung - ended in what the Pentagon described as "fiery, catastrophic" failure, with the missile apparently exploding just after take-off.

South Korean military officials say the North is desperate to register a successful test flight of the Musudan ahead of the party congress, at which leader Kim Jong-Un is expected to take credit for pushing the country's nuclear weapons programme to new heights.

Read more on:    north korea

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