Suspected North Korean missile is failing after launch over Pyongyang

Suspected North Korean missile is failing after launch over Pyongyang

March 17, 2022: -North Korea fired an “unknown projectile” on Wednesday, which appeared to fail immediately after launch, South Korea’s military said, between reports that the nuclear-armed North is seeking to test-fire its most giant missile yet.

The United States and South Korea are warning that North Korea may be preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the full range for the first time since 2017.

The projectile is firing from Sunan Airport outside the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

“It is presumed that it failed right after the launch,” the statement said. Yonhap news agency reported that the projectile seemed to explode in mid-air shortly after liftoff, citing unnamed sources.

The U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command called it a “ballistic missile launch.” The command did not mention the reported failure but condemned the launch and was urging Pyongyang to refrain from further destabilizing acts.

A source at the Ministry of Defense in Japan called the projectile a potential ballistic missile, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

Debris decreased in or near Pyongyang after the failed test, Seoul-based NK News reported, citing named witnesses and a test photograph that shows a red-tinted ball of smoke at the end of a zig-zagging rocket launch trail in the sky above the city.

“The report of a failure from Sunan is concerning as the possibility of damage to heavily populated civilian areas,” said Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In 2017, an intermediate-range ballistic missile was launching from another location failed after liftoff and crashed into an industrial or agriculture complex in Torchon.

The Sunan airport has been the site of a few recent launches, including February 27 and March 5. North Korea said those tests were to create components of a reconnaissance satellite and did not identify what rocket it used, but Seoul and Washington said they were tests of the latest ICBM system.

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Suspected North Korean missile is failing after launch over Pyongyang