North Korea has again taken a provocative step toward advancing its missile program.
According to the US Pacific Command, a North Korean missile fired Wednesday exploded “within seconds of launch.” It comes four days after North Korea announced it had tested a new rocket engine, describing it as a “great leap forward” in their missile program.
South Korea’s Military of Defense said in a statement, “South Korea and the US are aware of the missile launch and to their knowledge North Korea’s missile was not successfully launched.”
Neither the US nor South Korea have released information on what type of missile was fired, or why it failed. The US Pacific Command said it was working with partners to assess it further, CNN reported.
Against the background of the launch, South Korea and the United States continued their annual “Foal Eagle” military exercises, which allegedly provokes retaliation from North Koreans. The “Foal Eagle” exercises began on March 1 and will end on April 30.
Robert Kelly, associate professor of political science at Pusan National University, told CNN the latest launch was a “signal” to South Korea from their northern neighbor.
“The North Koreans respond to (the drills) almost every year with some kind of outlash or provocation or something like that,” he said. “Missile tests are a nice way to send a signal.”
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