'Breakthrough' N. Korea Missile Launch Fails
Seoul says latest firing was a flop
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 22, 2017 12:39 AM CDT
Workers set up a fence around a PAC-3 Patriot missile unit deployed at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Wednesday, March 22, 2017.   (Shizuo Kambayashi)
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(Newser) – North Korea's latest missile launch appeared to have ended in a failure on Wednesday, three days after the North claimed a major breakthrough in its rocket development program. Seoul's Defense Ministry said it was analyzing what type of missile was launched from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan but gave no further details. Yonhap news agency reported the missile was believed to have exploded in mid-air. The failure might mean that the missile is a newly developed one the North has not deployed, according to South Korean media. Last year, the country suffered a series of embarrassing failed launches of its new medium-range Musudan missile before it successfully test-fired one.

American officials said earlier this week that the US military expected another North Korean missile launch in the next several days, the AP reports. The officials said the US had increased its surveillance over the North and had detected a North Korean missile launcher being moved, as well as the construction of VIP seating in Wonsan. The reported launch failure comes as the North is angrily reacting to ongoing annual US-South Korean military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal. Earlier this month, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles that landed in waters off Japan, triggering strong protests from Seoul and Tokyo. (Pyongyang's latest propaganda video depicts a US warship being blown to bits.)

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