By Alex Jensen
SEOUL (AA) – North Korea appears to have botched a third major ballistic missile launch in less than two weeks Thursday, according to South Korea’s military.
Having failed with an attempted launch of a medium-range Musudan projectile earlier this month, the same model is believed to have crashed early in the morning.
“The missile, presumed to be a Musudan, was fired around 6.40 a.m. [2140GMT Wednesday] from the vicinity of Wonsan, but it appears to have crashed a few seconds later,” a South Korean military official was quoted as saying by local news agency Yonhap.
Pyongyang first paraded the Musudan back in 2010, and the missile could pose a threat as far as the United States territory of Guam if successfully deployed.
South Korea and its military ally the U.S. are reportedly “conducting a detailed assessment”, the official added.
The North launched a Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) last weekend, immediately drawing a statement of condemnation from the United Nations Security Council — even though that test was also deemed a failure.
Strengthened U.N. sanctions were imposed on North Korea earlier this year in response to its fourth ever nuclear test and subsequent rocket launch.
Seoul has been on guard for a fifth test ahead of a party congress in the authoritarian state next week — leader Kim Jong-un is thought to be keen on using a significant provocation as a way of consolidating power.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye insisted at a Cabinet meeting Thursday that another North Korean nuclear test would “shake the security order of Northeast Asia and we can never condone it”.
Pyongyang is barred from both nuclear and ballistic missile tests under multiple U.N. resolutions.