N. Korea Fails Intermediate-Range Missile Test

N. Korea Fails Intermediate-Range Missile Test

WASHINGTON/SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has attempted to launch a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), but the launch ended in failure, the U.S. Strategic Command said.

"U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) systems detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch" at 12:33 p.m. Saturday (Korean time) near the northwestern city of Kusong, the command said in a statement.

Kusong is near the North's "Dongchang-ri" or "Sohae" missile launch site.

"The missile is presumed to be a Musadan intermediate-range ballistic missile," it said, adding the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.

"We strongly condemn this and North Korea's other recent missile tests, which violate U.N. Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology," Cmdr. Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

"This provocation only serves to increase the international community's resolve to counter the DPRK's prohibited activities, including through implementing existing U.N. Security Council sanctions," he said, adding that the U.S. will raise the issue at the Security Council.

The U.S. commitment to South Korea's defense is "ironclad," he said.

"We call on North Korea to refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations," the spokesman said.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) confirmed and condemned the launch early Sunday.

It said Seoul and Washington closely shared information on the North's failed missile launch and reached an analysis it was a Musudan missile that is estimated to have a range of more than 3,000 kilometers.

"The military maintains heightened vigilance against any provocations by the North," the JCS said in a text message.

South Korea's foreign ministry also denounced the North's latest missile test.

"Regardless of its success or failure, North Korea's missile launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile violates the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolution," the ministry said in a statement. "This provocation was conducted amid the UNSC's efforts to draw a fresh resolution on North Korea's fifth nuclear test, and it challenges the U.N.'s authority."

This year alone, Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test in January and another one in September, and test-fired six Musudan IRBM missiles between April and June, with one of the two missiles fired off on June 22 flying some 400 km and reaching an altitude of over 1,400 km. Of the seven Musudan launches conducted so far, only one is considered to have succeeded.

The reclusive regime conducted tests on various other missiles, including submarine-launched ballistic missiles that have escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia as a whole.'

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