North Korea rushes to re-test intermediate missile, fails again: South Korea
SEOUL – North Korea fired what appeared to have been an intermediate range ballistic missile on Thursday but it crashed seconds after the test launch, South Korea’s defense ministry said, the second such failure in the run-up to next week’s ruling party congress.
Isolated North Korea has conducted a flurry of missile launches, in violation of UN resolutions, and tests of military technology ahead of the Workers’ Party congress that begins on May 6, and Thursday’s launch looks to have been hurried, according to a defense expert in Seoul.
A South Korean defense ministry official told Reuters that the launch at about 6:40 am local time (2140 GMT Wednesday) from near the east coast city of Wonsan appeared to have been of a Musudan missile with a range of more than 3,000 km (1,800 miles).
It crashed within seconds, the official said.
“They are in a rush to show anything that is successful, to meet the schedule of a political event, the party congress,” said Yang Uk, a senior research fellow at the Korea Defence and Security Forum and a policy adviser to the South Korean navy.
“They need to succeed but they keep failing. They didn’t have enough time to fix or technically modify the system, but just shot them because they were in hurry,” he said.
Thursday’s apparent failure marks another setback for the North’s young leader Kim Jong Un. A similar missile launched on the April 15 birthday of his grandfather, the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung, exploded in what the US Defense Department called a “fiery, catastrophic” failure. –REUTERS