North Korea has fired a ballistic missile from its east coast but Kim Jong-un’s test appears to have failed, officials in South Korea said.
The missile, believed to be an intermediate-range Musudan missile, was launched at 6am on Wednesday (9pm UK time).
In early 2016, roughly a month after an alleged hydrogen bomb test, North Korea claimed to have put a satellite into orbit around Earth. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had warned the North to not launch the rocket, and if it did and the rocket violated Japanese territory, it would be shot down. Nevertheless, North Korea launched the rocket anyway, claiming the satellite was purely intended for peaceful, scientific purposes.
Several nations, including the United States, Japan, and South Korea, have criticised the launch, and despite North Korean claims that the rocket was for peaceful purposes, it has been heavily criticised as an attempt to perform an ICBM test under the guise of a peaceful satellite launch. China also criticised the launch, however urged “the relevant parties” to “refrain from taking actions that may further escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula”.
Japan put its military on alert for a possible North Korean ballistic missile launch and South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said that the North was seen to be moving an intermediate-range missile to its east coast.
North Korea has failed in all four previous attempts to launch the Musudan, which theoretically has the range to reach any part of Japan and the US territory of Guam.