North Korea’s failed missile launch prompts ‘sabre-rattling’ jibe from China
SEOUL – North Korea attempted and failed to launch what experts believe was an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Friday in defiance of UN sanctions and in an embarrassing setback for leader Kim Jong Un, drawing criticism from major ally China.
The failed launch, as the reclusive country celebrates the “Day of the Sun” on the birthday of Kim’s grandfather, follows the North’s fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February, which led to new UN sanctions.
But the North has nevertheless pushed ahead with its missile programme, supervised by Kim.
The US-based 38 North website, which specialises in North Korea, has said there has been activity at the country’s nuclear site based on satellite imagery, and on Wednesday said the possibility of a fifth nuclear test “could not be ruled out”.
China, North Korea’s most important economic and diplomatic backer, has been angered by Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and rocket launches in the face of U.N. sanctions that China has also backed.
“The firing of a mid-range ballistic missile on Friday by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), though failed, marks the latest in a string of sabre-rattling that, if unchecked, will lead the country to nowhere,” China’s official Xinhua news agency said in an English language commentary.
“…Nuclear weapons will not make Pyongyang safer. On the contrary, its costly military endeavours will keep on suffocating its economy.” -Reuters