North Korea unsuccessfully test-fired a ballistic missile Wednesday in the latest of a series of provocative missile launches since President Donald Trump entered the White House.
Initial reports from Japanese media indicated that North Korea launched four ballistic missiles from the east coast; however, new information suggests that North Korea may have only fired off a single missile, which failed.
“North Korea fired one missile from an area near the Wonsan Air Base this morning but it’s presumed to have failed,” the South Korean Ministry of National Defense said in a brief statement.
The launch came hours after the U.S. military reported that North Korea will likely carry out additional missile tests at some point in the next few days. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, U.S. military officials told reporters that satellite imagery revealed the movement of North Korean missile launchers and test preparations near Wonsan.
“U.S. Pacific Command detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch attempt,” Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said in a statement, adding that the “missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch.”
The South Korean military is trying to identify the type of missile fired.
North Korea tested a new high-thrust rocket engine over the weekend. Some observers suspect it could be a “dangerous step” toward the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The North fired four extended-range scud missiles into the Sea of Japan earlier this month in protest of the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve joint military drills, the largest exercises involving U.S. and South Korean troops. Joint military exercises tend to provoke a response from the North Koreans.
North Korea also successfully tested a new type of solid-fueled, road-mobile, mid-range ballistic missile just a few weeks into the Trump presidency.
(Editor’s note: Initial reports from Japan’s Kyodo News Agency claimed that North Korea test-fired four ballistic missiles. New reports suggest that the North may have only fired one missile. Reports concerning North Korea tend to change rapidly. Additional updates will be added to the story as new information becomes available.)
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