According to the US Pacific command, North Korea fired another ballistic missile Saturday that blew up over land, making it the 3rd failed missile launch this month. President Donald Trump was briefed and tweeted:
North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2017
US Navy Commander Dave Benham says the missile didn’t leave North Korean territory. Another US official telling CNN that a US military assessment found the main part of the missile landed about 22 miles from Pukchang airfield.
A US Official says North Korea test-fired missile probably was a medium-range ballistic missile called a KN-17, a land-based solid-fuel missile fired from a mobile launcher. CNN’s Will Ripley in Pyongyang reports there has been no announcement on North Korean state television.
South Korea condemned the “provocative action,” saying it clearly violated UN Security Council resolutions, and constituted a serious threat to peace and security. South Korea’s foreign ministry saying:
“It demonstrates once again the regime’s belligerence and recklessness of categorically disobeying the international community’s resolve to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea. The South Korean government solemnly warns if the regime refuses to denuclearize, while continuously playing with fire against the entire world, it will only face rigorous punitive measures, including those of the UN Security Council.”
South Korean officials said the test likely was a failure with South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff saying:
“We are analyzing additional information. Our military is maintaining a thorough defense posture while keeping a close eye on the possibility of North Korea’s further provocations.”
Now, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Japan has launched a protest through its diplomatic channel in Beijing, with Suga adding that Japan won’t tolerate repeated provocative actions by North Korea and asked the Japanese public to remain calm.
White House officials said Trump was briefed as Air Force One returned to Maryland from Atlanta, where Trump earlier, Trump was the first President since Ronald Reagan to address the National Rifle Association.
Since Trump was inaugurated in January, North Korea has performed test missile launches on six different dates. One missile failed to launch, and 9-missiles took flight, some of which reached the Sea of Japan, but Saturday’s test did not.
John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst, says there is no such thing as a “failed missile attempt,” saying this about North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un:
“[Kim Jong Un] learns from every single attempt, and he gets knowledge, and he gets intel. And he takes those lessons learned and just churns them right over into the next one.”
The launch came hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed a special UN meeting, calling for increased pressure on North Korea saying:
“All options for responding to future provocations must remain on the table. Diplomatic and financial leverage or power will be backed up by willingness to counteract North Korean aggression with military action, if necessary.”
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se spoke at the UN meeting, advocating for proactive sanctions saying:
“The council has repeatedly warned that it will take ‘further significant measures, including sanctions’ in the case of future provocations,” he said. “But Pyongyang may still harbor the illusion that the Security Council will only take limited action and that it can disregard and ridicule the authority of the UN.”
There’s less than two weeks till South Korea votes for a new President, and the spokesman for the front-runner, Moon Jae-in, called on North Korea to stop its military tests saying:
“We urge the North Korean regime to immediately stop its reckless provocations, give up its nuclear ambitions and cooperate with the international community. That would be the only way it can save itself, instead of taking the path of destruction.”
Kirby says the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had a message for the United States and others saying:
“This is Kim giving us the finger. Giving China the finger. Giving the UN the finger. I think timing is absolutely planned and preordained in his mind.”
Trump’s administration has given a number of warnings about the dangers of North Korea this week. The US military has moved an aircraft carrier strike group into the region, docked a powerful nuclear submarine in South Korea and staged large military drills with South Korea and Japan.
Thursday, the President told Reuters he would prefer a diplomatic resolution but did say this:
“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea.”
Washington is hopeful the Chinese can help. Tillerson telling FOX News Thursday that China has threatened North Korea with sanctions if the regime conducts a nuclear test.
China is one of North Korea’s only allies, and is responsible for much of the heavily-sanctioned nation’s economy. In a statement to CNN, North Korea says it is developing nuclear weapons for self-defense and as a deterrent to the United States, according to what the North Korean Mission to the United Nations called an unofficial translation. It did not acknowledge Saturday’s missile test.