Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Expected N Korean missile test fizzles

"North Korea showing a variety of offensive missiles at yesterday's military parade and daring to fire a ballistic missile today is a show of force that threatens the whole world" South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-Hyuck said at a news briefing on Sunday.

On Saturday North Korea displayed almost 60 missiles - including what is suspected to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile - at a parade to mark the 105th birthday of its founder Kim Il-Sung.

Physicist and North Korea nuclear watcher David Albright, of the Institute for Science and International Security, estimated in a report last week provided to The Associated Press that through 2020, North Korea will have enough plutonium and weapon-grade uranium for about 25-50 nuclear weapons. According to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, many travel operators including the main online website have halted trips to North Korea.

"This is a challenging time all over the world, but especially here in the Asia-Pacific".

Kim did not speak during the annual parade, which celebrates the 1912 birthday of his late grandfather Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founding ruler, but a top official warned that the North would stand up to any threat posed by the United States.

There was no need for the U.S. military to shoot down North Korea's anniversary salvo - the missile failed at launch.

A North Korean missile "blew up nearly immediately" yesterday on its test launch, the US Pacific Command said, hours before US Vice President Mike Pence landed in South Korea for talks on the North's arms program.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two previous year.

The rockets carried on articulated trailers appeared to be longer than the North's existing KN-08 or KN-14 missiles, analysts said.

The North launched a ballistic missile from the same region earlier this month ahead of a summit between the leaders of the United States and China to discuss the North's arms programme.

"We will respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and a nuclear war with our style of a nuclear attack", said Choe, widely seen by analysts as North Korea's No. 2 official.

"It certainly appears to be a message to the United States that they're capable of threatening the USA homeland".

Such a defiant move was likely to draw even more pressure from the USA which ordered its nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group to the region, Lu said.

"It uses caterpillar treads which means it can go off road more easily, which mean they can hide them more easily", Hanham said.

Asked about the "options" against North Korea, he said Trump has made very clear that he is not in the business of announcing in advance exactly what he's going to do in any particular situation.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, centre, inspecting the parade at an undisclosed location. There were no tweets from US President Donald Trump in the hours after the missile launch, though it is known he was in contact with US Vice-President Mike Pence aboard Air Force 2.

And it showed off canisters that seemed in line with what would be required for an intercontinental ballistic missile, which is Washington's greatest concern. "The good news is that after five seconds it fizzled out", the adviser said.

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