MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. North Korea has attempted to launch a missile, but failed, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Sunday citing the country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The launch took place from the city of Sinpo in the central South Hamgyong province.
The purported test came shortly after nationwide celebrations of the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder and first president of People's Republic of Korea. The Communist state celebrated the holiday with a large-scale military parade at the central square of Pyongyang, during which a submarine-based ballistic missile (SLBM) was showcased for the first time, according to analysts.
Official North Korean media have remained silent on the possible missile test so far, reported Japan’s NHK TV, whose news team is currently in Pyongyang. According to the Japanese journalists, the media silence was possibly due to the fact that the test was unsuccessful.
The Japanese government has set up a special committee to gather information about the launch. "Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe also instructed all relevant agencies to gather and analyze information," the government announced in a statement.
The failed launch was detected at 01:21 Moscow time and tracked by the US Pacific Command, a spokesman said.
"The missile blew up almost immediately," Navy Commander Dave Benham said. "The type of missile is still being assessed."
The spokesman reiterated the US Pacific Command’s commitment to close work with its allies of South Korea and Japan in order to maintain stability in the region.
The US Department of Defense issued a brief statement on the matter, describing the test as "unsuccessful."
"The president and his military team are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment," reads the statement on behalf of US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
This is North Korea’s second launch from the Sinpo region this month. On April 5, North Korea fired the KN-15 nuclear-capable intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew for about nine minutes and covered 60 kilometers before splashing down in the Sea of Japan.