South Korea’s military said Wednesday that a North Korean missile fired from its capital area burst in mid-air in an apparent failure launch, amid anticipation that the North could soon launch its largest long-range missile in its most serious provocation in years. The exact cause of the missile explosion was not immediately known. However, the launch, the tenth of its sort this year, demonstrates North Korea’s determination to go on with its quest to modernize its nuclear stockpile. According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the launch appears to have failed. North Korea fired a ballistic missile, according to the US Indo-Pacific Command. Only one of the eight ‘Musudan’ intermediate-range missile tests in 2016 was deemed successful by outside observers, sparking speculation over whether North Korea’s road to ICBMs had been cut off.
North Korea, according to the US and South Korean armies, has tested an ICBM system in two recent launches. The Hwasong-17 missile has the ability to fly up to 15,000 kilometers, allowing it to target anyplace in the United States and beyond. North Korea shared images acquired from space during one of the tests, but did not specify which rocket or missile was launched. North Korea will almost certainly refer to a prospective future ICBM test as a rocket launch to deploy a reconnaissance satellite in orbit. Other North Korean missile launches this year have primarily been shorter-range, nuclear-armed missiles capable of targeting South Korea and Japan.
North Korea conducted seven rounds of missile tests in January alone, a record amount of monthly testing since Kim seized office in late 2011. Other North Korean missiles fired this year were largely shorter-range, nuclear-armed weapons capable of targeting South Korea and Japan, both vital US allies.