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North Korea launches missile but attempt ends in failure

12:10, Sunday, 16 April, 2017
North Korea launches missile but attempt ends in failure

North Korea has defied Donald Trump’s demands for it to abandon its nuclear and missile programmes, launching a missile from an eastern port city on Sunday morning.

However, the test appeared to fail. “The missile blew up almost immediately,” the United States Pacific Command said in a statement. “The type of missile is still being assessed.” Reuters reported one US official as saying it was confident the failed projectile was not an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

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     The attempt came hours before US vice-president Mike Pence was due to arrive in Seoul at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia in what his aides said was a sign of the US commitment to its ally in the face of rising tension over North Korea. Both Pence and President Donald Trump have been notified. The president had no further comment, said defence secretary Jim Mattis.

South Korea described the launch as a “threat to the entire world” and warned that it would respond to any further provocations, such as a nuclear test or the launch of an ICBM.

“North Korea showing a variety of offensive missiles at yesterday’s military parade and daring to fire a ballistic missile today is a show of force that threatens the whole world,” South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The missile was launched from the eastern coastal city of Sinpo, which is the site of a submarine base and where the North has tested the submarine-launched ballistic missile it is developing. Weapons on submarines are much harder to track and destroy, and would make it far more challenging for the US and its allies to mount a pre-emptive strike. However, it is thought the latest launch was land-based.

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