Latest North Korean Launch Appears to End in Failure

It's not clear what was launched Wednesday morning
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 16, 2022 12:00 AM CDT
Latest North Korean Launch Apparently Failed
People watch a TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea's missile with file footage, at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, March 16, 2022.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

North Korea’s latest weapons launch on Wednesday apparently ended in failure, South Korea’s military said, amid speculation that the North could soon launch its biggest long-range missile in its most significant provocation in years. It wasn’t immediately clear what North Korea launched on Wednesday morning or at what stage it had an apparent failure, the AP reports. But the launch, the 10th of its kind this year, shows North Korea is determined to press ahead on its push to modernize its weapons arsenal and pressure its rivals into making concessions amid dormant denuclearization talks. South Korean and US intelligence authorities were analyzing details of the launch made from the Pyongyang region around 9:30am that apparently failed, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that didn’t have further details.

The US Indo-Pacific Command later said that North Korea fired a ballistic missile but didn’t say whether it was a failed launch. A command statement said the launch didn’t pose an immediate threat to US territory and its allies but called on North Korea to refrain from further destabilizing acts. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that a flight of a ballistic missile has not been confirmed and that Tokyo is working with Washington and Seoul to further analyze what happened. The US and South Korean militaries said last week that North Korea had tested an ICBM system in launches on Feb. 27 and March 5. If North Korea makes a new ICBM launch, it would be its highest-profile weapons tests since its third and last ICBM launch in November 2017.

Experts say past failures still have moved North Korea closer to its goal of acquiring a viable nuclear arsenal that could threaten the American homeland. Of eight “Musudan” intermediate-range missiles tests in 2016, only one of those launches was seen by outside analysts as successful, which led to debates of whether North Korea’s path toward ICBMs had been cut off. However, the North in 2017 flew more powerful intermediate-range missiles over Japan and conducted three successful test-flights of ICBMs that demonstrated a potential range to strike deep into the US mainland. North Korea’s successful satellite launches in 2012 and 2016—which were viewed by the UN as disguised tests of its long-range missile technology—also followed repeated failures.

(Read more North Korea stories.)

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