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TOKYO, April 15. /TASS/. North Korea (DPRK) made an abortive attempt on Friday to launch the Musudan missile with a range of up to 4,000 km that has never been tested before, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Friday with reference to South Korean sources.
According to the agency, North Korea fired a missile, presumed by South Korean media to be its intermediate-range Musudan, from its east coast in the early hours of Friday but the launch ended in failure.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the launch was conducted at 5:30 a.m., and that South Korean and US intelligence assets made a joint assessment that the launch was a failure. Yonhap News Agency quoted a South Korean intelligence officer as saying, "The missile disappeared in flight within several seconds after its launch. Analysis is being made into the high possibility it might have exploded mid-air." Yonhap quoted sources as saying the launched missile was a Musudan, whose maximum range is estimated at 4,000 kilometers. If confirmed, it would be its first test-firing of the indigenously developed missile, Kyodo reported.
The Musudan missile was for the first time shown at a military parade in Pyongyang in 2010. According to Western experts, it could have been developed on the basis of the Soviet liquid-propelled submarine ballistic missile R-27 that is currently decommissioned. This system, in the view of experts, is potentially capable of striking Japan’s entire territory, including the American military bases in Okinawa, as well as the US-owned island of Guam. However, North Korea is reportedly experiencing difficulties with making the missile engine operational.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula deteriorated after the DPRK on January 6 held a nuclear test, and on February 7 launched a carrier rocket with an earth satellite in violation of UN Security Council decisions. In response, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2270 on toughening sanctions against North Korea. According to the resolution text, "the Council decided that Pyongyang should not supply, sell or transfer coal, iron, iron ore, gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore, and rare earth minerals, and that all States should prohibit their nationals from procuring such materials. By other terms, it decided that all States should prevent the sale or supply of aviation fuel - including aviation gasoline, naphtha-type jet fuel, kerosene-type jet fuel, and kerosene-type rocket fuel - whether or not originating in their own territory, to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea." In addition, the document introduces sanctions against the DPRK banking sector, mandatory inspections of goods and targeted measures against persons and entities associated with the North Korean nuclear and missile programs.