Failed missile test hits North Korean town

A USA government source says that a 2017 rocket launch failed and crashed into one of the country's own cities.

The country's test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) allegedly crash-landed in Tokchon city and caused damages to some buildings there.

Photos seen exclusively by The Diplomat show there was no such damage to the buildings before the test on April 28.

North Korea used key components of the Hwasong-12 to develop the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14, successfully test-launched twice in July, and the Hwasong-15 in November, putting the whole of the USA mainland within the rocket's reach.

North Korea has twice fired a Hwasong-12 missile over Japan.

Another North Korea missile launch had failed before Pence's landed in Seoul, but that came from the seaside town of Sinpo and any early in-flight failure over the ocean would mean there was a low chance of hitting populated urban areas.

"The Diplomat explained how the liquid-fueled missile likely crashed and caused a "large explosion" in the city, and from Google Earth images, it looks like the crash site was very close to residential and commercial buildings".

In the war of words that followed, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened to launch a missile strike on the United States with President Donald Trump then responding in kind, saying that he did not rule a military solution to the conflict.

It marked the first missile launched since one was sacked across Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on September 15.

It suggests the 25-tonne rocket, most likely launched from the nearby Pukchang Airfield, flew out of control and hit the city which is home to around 200,000.

The latest missile news comes just a few days after Kim claimed in his New Year's speech that he has a "nuclear button" on his desk to use at any time. "Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my Button works!" the US President tweeted.

While North Korea has threatened the USA mainland for months with nuclear weapons, intelligence and military experts said the regime lacked the ability to effectively deliver a nuclear warhead-this has now changed.

  • Tracy Klein