North Korea’s Latest Missile Never Even Made It Out of Korea

REUTERS/Sue-Lin Wong

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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North Korea launched a ballistic missile Friday, but the weapon failed.

The South Korean military reported that the missile was fired from a site in the vicinity of Bukchang in Pyeongannam-do, South Pyeongan Province. U.S. Pacific Command revealed the weapon was launched from Pukchang airfield, but it “did not leave Korean territory.”

Some observers suspect that the missile may have been a KN-17, a new type of single-stage, liquid-fueled Scud with suspected anti-ship capabilities. Others are not so sure.

Friday’s test is Kim Jong Un’s 75th missile test and the ninth missile launch this year. Of the launches carried out this year, five were successes; four failed. One exploded almost instantly and has yet to be identified. Two appear to be KN-17 anti-ship ballistic missiles. It is still unclear what type of missile the North fired Friday.

The KN-17 is a new class of missile, a potential “carrier killer,” that the North is believed to have begun testing this month. There is still uncertainty surrounding some of the North’s recent missile launches.

The type of missile used in Friday’s test has yet to be officially determined. Other possibilities include the KN-15 intermediate-range ballistic missile and the extended-range Scud.

“The Administration is aware of the most recent North Korean missile launch. The President has been briefed,” the White House explained in a statement.

Friday’s launch follows a special United Nations Security Council session chaired by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who called for tougher sanctions and increased pressure on Pyongyang.

North Korea said in an official statement that the United States “will soon clearly know what real war tastes like.” While Friday’s launch may have failed, Kim Jong Un’s record is 58 successes, 17 failures.

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