North Korea on Friday launched a new ballistic missile which flew some 800 km before falling into the sea, followed by another missile which may have exploded mid-air, South Korean military officials said. The North Korean People’s Army fired the missile into the East Sea at 5.55 a.m. from Sukchun, north of Pyongyang, according to Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The South Korean defence ministry spokesman told EFE news that it appeared to be a Rodong (single stage, mobile liquid propellant medium range ballistic missile) with a range of 1,300 km. He also revealed that roughly 22 minutes after the first launch, what appeared to be the second missile was fired from the same area but disappeared from the radar at an altitude of 17 km. It is believed to have exploded in the air, the spokesman added.
The launch occurred amid high tension on the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang conducted the fourth underground nuclear test on January 6 and launched a satellite aboard a rocket on February 7, actions which prompted sanctions from the UN Security Council. On March 10, the North Korean military launched two short-range missiles which flew some 500 km. One week prior to the incident, the country catapulted six short-range missiles which flew between 100-150 km each.