N.Korean Rockets Fizzle

North Korea fired four short-range rockets from a new 300 mm launcher on Wednesday, but three of them exploded in mid-air or crashed immediately. The last one flew more than 200 km before falling harmlessly into the sea.

The launch, from Mt. Myohyang in Pyongan Province, coincided with by-elections in South Korea.

A spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff here said the first two projectiles were fired in an easterly direction at 7:30 a.m. and 7:40 a.m., but they flew "for only a few seconds."

The next two, at 5:50 p.m. and 6 p.m., flew for about 210 km and 130 km, he added.

The three unsuccessful rockets landed in inland areas and may have caused damage to civilians, military authorities here speculated.

The new MRL was previously believed to have a maximum range of 200 km, but since one rocket flew 210 km, it would be capable of hitting the South Korean military headquarters in Gyeryongdae, South Chungcheong Province if fired from the frontline.

It was the North's 16th rocket test this year. On Saturday, it fired a Scud missile into the East Sea.

Since Feb. 21, the North has fired 102 medium and short-range projectiles, including Scud and Rodong missiles and FROG rockets.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 31, 2014 09:19 KST