North Korea launches missile despite US tensions

North Korea launches missile despite US tensions

North Korea launched a missile early on Sunday in defiance of American threats, but it reportedly blew up on take off, arch rival South Korea says. 

The attempted missile launch near Sinpo, on its east coast, is believed to have failed, South Korea’s military said.

The launch comes a day after the North held a military parade in its capital Pyongyang marking the birth anniversary of the state founder where what appeared to be new ballistic missiles were displayed.

“The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from near the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed,” the South’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

There were no further details, and the office said it was analysing the launch.

The North launched a ballistic missile from the same region earlier this month ahead of a summit meeting between the leaders of the United States and China, its key ally, to discuss the North’s increasingly defiant arms programme.

Tension had escalated sharply in the region amid concerns the reclusive North may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test or a ballistic missile test launch timed with the April 15 anniversary it calls the “Day of the Sun.”

The White House has said US President Donald Trump has put the North “on notice” while the possibility of American military action against Pyongyang has gained traction following US cruise missile strikes against Syria on April 7.

Trump has ordered a navy strike group flagshipped by a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to head to the region as a show of force as his officials assess tougher economic sanctions, as well as military options against the North.

The North has in turn warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked.

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Source: Reuters news agency