North Korea tested a Musudan missile, which is capable of hitting US bases as far away as Guam.
Seoul: An outburst almost immediately after takeoff was behind the failure of North Korea’s latest test-firing of a powerful medium-range missile, the South Korean military established on Monday.
North Korea tested a Musudan missile – which is capable of hitting US bases as far away as Guam — shortly after noontime Saturday near an air base in the northwestern city of Kusong.
Such launches are frequently reported within a few hours or even minutes by South Korean and US military monitors, but the news of Saturday’s missile test only came out around after 16 hours after the event.
“North Korea’s missile launch failed shortly after lift-off so a significant amount of time was needed to analyse it,” a South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff officer expressed to reporters on Monday.
A defence ministry spokesperson confirmed the missile exploded soon after lift-off, in the very early stage of the launch.
First unveiled as an indigenous missile at a military parade in Pyongyang in October 2010, the Musudan has a theoretical range of anywhere between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometres (1,500 and 2,500 miles).
The lower guesstimate covers the whole of South Korea and Japan, while the upper range would include US military bases on Guam.
After a string of 5 failed missile launches, North Korea test-fired a Musudan in June that fluttered 400 kilometres into the Sea of Japan (East Sea). Saturday’s missile test weas the first since then.
The June flight had been welcomed by leader Kim Jong-Un as proof of the North’s capability to strike US bases across “the Pacific operation theatre”.
US weapons experts say successful Musudan missile testing could help the nuclear-armed North develop an operational ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) which is capable of striking the US mainland by 2020.