April 29, 2016 09:32
North Korea fired a couple of medium-range ballistic missiles on Thursday, but the first crashed into the sea and the second also failed, according to military officials here.
The Musudan missile is theoretically capable of hitting U.S. military bases on Guam in the West Pacific but does not seem to be working very well. Another Musudan missile launch on April 15 also failed, killing and injuring several personnel.
The North fired the first missile from Wonsan around 6:40 a.m. and the second in the evening. The first missile did not show up on South Korean military radar but was spotted by a U.S. surveillance satellite.
The North recently deployed two mobile missile launch vehicles near Wonsan, each with a Musudan missile.
The Musudan is an upgraded version of the old Soviet SS-N-6 submarine-launched ballistic missile. It is 12 m long and thought to be able to carry a 650 kg warhead. The North has had about 40 of them warfare-ready since 2007 but seems not to have tested them until recently.
The North is gearing up for a massive Workers Party congress on May 6, the first in 36 years, and the regime is frantically trying to project an image of power as international sanctions begin to bite.
But South Korea and the U.S. are now expected to reassess the practical threat the Musudan poses given its tendency to blow up. The government here still believes that another nuclear test is imminent.
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