U.S. and South Korean authorities say a North Korean attempt to launch a missile failed catastrophically Friday. The AP reports:
“It was a fiery, catastrophic attempt at a launch that was unsuccessful,” said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. He said U.S. officials are still assessing, but it was likely a road-mobile missile, given that it was launched from a location not usually used for ballistic missile launches, on the country’s east coast.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, speaking to reporters during a stop on the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, said that while the U.S. deemed the launch to be unsuccessful, it “was nonetheless another provocation by North Korea in a region that doesn’t need that kind of behavior.”
Reuters has a bit more detail on the embarrassing failure including the sharp response from Chinese media:
A U.S. government source told Reuters on Friday the missile never got off the launch pad, instead bursting into flames on the ground. It was not yet clear what caused the failure but further tests are expected, said the source, who asked not to be named.
“The firing of a mid-range ballistic missile on Friday by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), though failed, marks the latest in a string of saber-rattling that, if unchecked, will lead the country to nowhere,” China’s official Xinhua news agency said in an English language commentary.
“… Nuclear weapons will not make Pyongyang safer. On the contrary, its costly military endeavors will keep on suffocating its economy.”
Reports from South Korea suggest the launch may have been a Mursadan medium-range missile designed to travel over 2,000 miles. The failed test is especially embarrassing because it came on the “Day of the Sun,” the 104th anniversary of the birth of the nation’s founder Kim Il Sung.