North Korea fired a test missile Wednesday morning, but the launch failed, U.S. and South Korean officials have confirmed.
“U.S. Pacific Command detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch attempt the morning of March 22 in Korea (12:49 p.m. Hawaii time) in the vicinity of Kalma,” said Cmdr. David Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command. “A missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch. We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment. We continue to monitor North Korea’s actions closely.”
South Korea’s Ministry of Defense confirmed the failed launch. A ministry spokesman initially said four missiles were fired, but he later corrected that figure, saying it was one missile.
The North Korean missile was launched near Kalma in eastern Wonsan province, where North Korea previously attempted to launch its mobile-launched Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile.
U.S. officials said that in recent days, activity was apparent in Wonsan indicating that another possible Musudan missile launch was likely.
Believed to have a minimum range of 1,500 miles, the missile is of concern to U.S. officials because mobile-launched missiles are hard to track and can be fired on short notice.
But North Korea has not had much success in testing the missile: Seven of eight Musudan launches last year were spectacular failures.
U.S. officials have still not made an assessment of what type of missile was fired in the latest launch.