A POWERFUL midrange missile launched in North Korea had crashed seconds after liftoff on Thursday, said the South Korean Defense Ministry.
If confirmed to be the same type of missile, the launch today is the second such failure in recent weeks.
The incident is particularly embarrassing as it comes ahead of a major ruling party meeting next week in Pyongyang.
A Defense Ministry official says the launch was likely the second attempt for the inaugural test of a Musudan, a new, powerful midrange missile that could one day be capable of reaching far-off U.S. military bases in Asia and the Pacific. It exploded in the air a few seconds after liftoff.
The launch comes as the Koreas trade threats amid Pyongyang’s anger over annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that North Korea calls a rehearsal for an invasion.
On Wednesday, North Korea had reportedly built a half-size mock-up of the South’s presidential palace at a firing range in what looked like preparations for a live-fire drill.
The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday the information came from an analysis of South Korean satellite imagery.
North Korea in recent weeks has repeatedly threatened to strike the presidential palace and government buildings in Seoul amid the annual joint military drills between the United States and South Korea and heightened sanctions against the North over its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.
Additional Reporting by Associated Press