North Korea missile test a fizzle

US intelligence detected a test of a North Korean long range missile on Sunday, but it blew up just seconds after launch.

Some sort of demonstration was expected during the North Korean commemoration of the birth of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung.

The failed launch took place as US Vice President Mike Pence was visiting South Korea as part of a 10 day swing through Asia.

USA Today:

The U.S. had good intelligence both before and after the launch, said a White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Vice President Mike Pence, who arrived in Seoul in the afternoon to start a 10-day trip to Asia.

No planned response is expected from the Trump administration because the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the administration's initial understanding of the launch, said there was no need for the U.S. to reinforce the failure.

The official said that had it been a nuclear test, "other actions would have been taken by the U.S."

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two last year. Recent satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

The White House believes that Sunday's test involved a medium-range ballistic missile that failed within 4-5 seconds after launch, and that it did not involve an intercontinental ballistic missile, the adviser said.

The North regularly launches short-range missiles, but is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target U.S. troops in Asia and, eventually, the U.S. mainland.

The failed launch will sting in Pyongyang because it came a day after one of the biggest North Korean propaganda events of the year— celebrations of the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather.

President Donald Trump was uncharacteristically quiet about the failed launch, which was attempted from the east coast city of Sinpo. In a statement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Trump and his military team "are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment."

Kim's attempt to send a message to the US president backfired in the most embarrassing manner possible. But the North Korean people will never hear of the failure - nor will they hear if any of the scientists and technicians connected with the test are put to death. Kim has been known not to tolerate failure. 

During the military parade that accompanied the celebrations of Kim's grandfather's birth, the North Korean military displayed a couple of new missiles thought to be major improvements over previous models. It seems pretty clear that the Kim regime is inching closer to being able to deliver a nuclear warhead to almost anywhere in the world - including the US. President Trump knows this, which is why the North's major ally, China, will have to convince Kim that testing a missile capable of hitting the US is a red line that the North crosses at its own peril.

 

US intelligence detected a test of a North Korean long range missile on Sunday, but it blew up just seconds after launch.

Some sort of demonstration was expected during the North Korean commemoration of the birth of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung.

The failed launch took place as US Vice President Mike Pence was visiting South Korea as part of a 10 day swing through Asia.

USA Today:

The U.S. had good intelligence both before and after the launch, said a White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Vice President Mike Pence, who arrived in Seoul in the afternoon to start a 10-day trip to Asia.

No planned response is expected from the Trump administration because the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the administration's initial understanding of the launch, said there was no need for the U.S. to reinforce the failure.

The official said that had it been a nuclear test, "other actions would have been taken by the U.S."

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two last year. Recent satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

The White House believes that Sunday's test involved a medium-range ballistic missile that failed within 4-5 seconds after launch, and that it did not involve an intercontinental ballistic missile, the adviser said.

The North regularly launches short-range missiles, but is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target U.S. troops in Asia and, eventually, the U.S. mainland.

The failed launch will sting in Pyongyang because it came a day after one of the biggest North Korean propaganda events of the year— celebrations of the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather.

President Donald Trump was uncharacteristically quiet about the failed launch, which was attempted from the east coast city of Sinpo. In a statement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Trump and his military team "are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment."

Kim's attempt to send a message to the US president backfired in the most embarrassing manner possible. But the North Korean people will never hear of the failure - nor will they hear if any of the scientists and technicians connected with the test are put to death. Kim has been known not to tolerate failure. 

During the military parade that accompanied the celebrations of Kim's grandfather's birth, the North Korean military displayed a couple of new missiles thought to be major improvements over previous models. It seems pretty clear that the Kim regime is inching closer to being able to deliver a nuclear warhead to almost anywhere in the world - including the US. President Trump knows this, which is why the North's major ally, China, will have to convince Kim that testing a missile capable of hitting the US is a red line that the North crosses at its own peril.

 

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