Posted April. 17, 2017 07:20,
Updated April. 17, 2017 07:34
The South Korean military authority said North Korea fired a ballistic missile at the Shinpo area in South Hamgyong Province around 6:20 a.m. Sunday, but the missile exploded midair soon after the launch.
The North apparently fired the missile in a show of force by targeting the day of U.S. Vice President Mike Fence’s visit to South Korea. A massive military parade in Pyongyang was also held on Saturday, the Day of the Sun, or the birth day of the North's founder Kim Il Sung’s by mobilizing all of its mid- to long-range strategic weapons such as a new intercontinental ballistic missile.
“We are analyzing the type of the missile and the cause of its explosion,” a South Korean military source said. “The missile is believed to be the same type as the one that was fired from the same site toward the East Sea on April 5, which flew about 60 kilometers.” The South Korean military judges that both missiles are the KN-15 (Pukkuksong-2 type).
Analysts say chances are high that the North attempted a second test fire of the missile after April 5, but failed again due to a defective rocket. The U.S. Pacific Command said the missile fired by the North was not an ICBM.
Kim Jong Un opted for a missile provocation over a nuclear test as he was apparently affected by heavy pressure by the Donald Trump administration that started in earnest after the U.S.-China summit. Analysts say that Pyongyang might have adjusted the level of its provocation as it felt burden from the Trump administration’s possible use of military options such as the recent airstrikes in Syria and Afghanistan.
The South Korean military is keeping a close watch on the North’s move in preparation for the possibility that the Stalinist country may make additional provocations including missile launch and nuclear test ahead of the 85th anniversary of the creation of the Korean People's Army on April 25.
The U.S. media including the politics journal Politico reported that North Korea threw the jab of missile test (in lieu of the uppercut of its sixth nuclear test) timed with U.S. Vice President Pence’s visit to South Korea, adding that Pyongyang has displayed its commitment to resist President Trump’s demand.