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North Korea launches missile that crashes almost immediately, South Korea says

by Carter Sherman
Apr 28 2017, 7:24pm

North Korea launched a ballistic missile Saturday morning local time, U.S. Pacific Command confirmed, though the missile never left North Korean territory.

The missile appeared to be test-fired from Pukchang airfield, about 40 miles north of the capital Pyongyang. South Korean military officials called the test a failure, and the South Korean Yonhap news agency reported that the missile exploded just a few seconds after launch. Officials didn’t reveal what kind of missile it was.

The test came just hours after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council about the dangers of Kim Jong Un’s regime.

“Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences,” he said. “The threat of a nuclear attack on Seoul or Tokyo is real, and it’s only a matter of time before North Korea develops the capability to strike the U.S. mainland.”

On Thursday, President Donald Trump told Reuters that “there is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.”

A Friday-evening statement from the White House was short and to the point: “The administration is aware of the most recent North Korean missile test. The President has been briefed.”

However, Trump soon took to Twitter to shame North Korea for having “disrespected” its close ally China:

This is the second known missile fail by North Korea in a month; on April 15, the Hermit Kingdom launched a missile from its eastern coast that, according to U.S. and South Korean military officials, failed almost immediately.

This post was updated at 8:09 p.m. ET.