US Says North Korean Missile Test Ended in Fiery Crash

Analysts said North Korea's latest move will accentuate the gulf between China and the United States on how to deal with Pyongyang, and more provocations can follow if the outcome of the summit today and tomorrow is unfavourable to Pyongyang.

Shortly after this test occurred, the US delivered the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to South Korea, a process which the USA started working on with its ally after the flurry of North Korean missile tests in 2016.

The launch will fuel global concerns about the hermit state's weapons program.

The hardened United States stance followed recent North Korean missile launches that Pyongyang described as practice for an attack on USA bases in Japan.

The missile was sacked at a high angle and reached an altitude of 189km, the official said.

Pyongyang tested a new type of medium-to-long-range ballistic missile in February, which it later said was an upgraded, extended-range version of its submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, questioned why North Korea would do a shorter launch of the KN-15.

South Korea has been developing ballistic missiles with an 800-kilometer range since 2012, the joint chiefs of staff spokesman said. Many experts say a "Pukguksong-2" missile would be a greater security threat, because it can be launched anywhere from a mobile vehicle. Defense Minister Han Min-koo reportedly inspected the launch and the missile was said to have met all requirements for a normal test - including flight and accuracy.

"I've joked before that they don't mind being hated, but they definitely hate to be ignored", Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS think tank in Honolulu, said after Wednesday's launch.

North Korea's state media have said the world will soon witness what they called "eventful successes" in the country's space development.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry called the North's latest missile launch a "reckless provocation" that posed a threat to worldwide peace, while Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said his country lodged a strong protest over the launch.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives passed a bill calling for North Korea's re-designation as a state sponsor of terrorism by a 398-to-3 vote and a resolution denouncing North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile testing by a 394-to-1 vote at a plenary session on April 4.

Tuesday's test firing of a medium-range weapon comes amid fears North Korea could carry out more weapons testing banned by the UN.

North Korea is pushing hard to upgrade its weapons systems to cope with what it calls US hostility.

The hardened US stance followed recent North Korean missile launches that Pyongyang described as practice for an attack on USA bases in Japan.

An undated picture released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on March 7, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un supervising the launching of four ballistic missiles at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

The firing was also made as the USA and South Korea continue to carry out their annual military drills, which North Korea reportedly sees as practice for an invasion.

North Korea often responds to the drills with its own military training and harsh rhetoric.

  • Leroy Wright