The threat from North Korea to launch another underground nuclear weapons test seems to have fizzled on the launch pad, according to reports from the region. South Korea, which monitors their hostile northern neighbor closely, first reported the failure earlier this evening.
Report from the New York Times:
North Korea launched a ballistic missile Sunday morning from near its submarine base in Sinpo on its east coast, but the launch failed, according to the South Korean military.
The timing was a deep embarrassment for the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, because the missile appeared to have been launched to show off his daring as a fleet of American warships approached his country to deter provocations.
“U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 11:21 a.m. Hawaii time April 15. The launch of the ballistic missile occurred near Sinpo,” said Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command.
The missile blew up almost immediately, and the type of missile involved was still being assessed, he said.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis says the White House is aware, but has no response at this point, according to Bradd Jaffy of NBC News:
Also a report from the UK Daily Mail:
The South Korean defence ministry said it had detected a failed launch from Sinpo – where North Korea’s biggest submarine base is located.
According to a military official the weapon is ‘presumed to be a new ICBM’ as it is longer than the existing KN-08 or KN-14 missiles.
US defence secretary James Mattis said Donald Trump is ‘aware’ of the launch and has no further comment.
The South Korean defence ministry said in a statement: ‘North Korea attempted to test an unidentified type of missile from Sinpo area in the South Hamkyong Province this morning, but we suspect the launch has failed.’
More on this story as it develops.