DEBKAfile – April 16, 2017
An unidentified North Korean ballistic missile exploded seconds after it was launched Sunday, April 16, from a site near the port city of Sinpo, just as US Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Seoul for talks with.
the South Korean government on how to deal with Pyongyang’s belligerence. The medium-range missile failure occurred the day after a spectacular military parade rolled through central Pyongyang to mark the 105th anniversary of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung. It showcased 50 missiles, including the first display of a submarine-launched missile.
Missile launches have failed before – and not just in North Korea. But worth noting are the comments by US officials before and after the North Korean missile detonated: “We had good intelligence before the launch and good intelligence after the launch,” was one. The US Pacific Command said it had detected and tracked what it assessed to be a North Korean ballistic missile launch. Another US official remarked: “It’s a failed test. It followed another failed test. We don’t need to expend any resources against that.”
The responses of US officials and the concurrence of the failed detonation with the arrival of the US vice president suggest that North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs are closely monitored by US intelligence, electronic and cyber tools. A previous North missile launch on April 5 suffered an in-flight failure before the weapon crashed into the Sea of Japan. There was also an unsuccessful missile launch in late March.