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U.S., South Korea confirm failed North Korea missile strike

Philadelphia News
20 Oct 2016, 18:16 GMT+10

PYONGYANG, North Korea - United States and South Korea on Thursday said North Korea has fired another test missile that failed after launch.

According to the U.S. Strategic Command, the missile was a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile and was launched from the western city of Kusong. 

The South Korea military also confirmed the attempted missile launch. 

Analysis by South Korean and U.S. military monitors suggested Thursday's missile had exploded shortly after take-off at around 6.30 am Pyongyang time.

"Our military strongly condemns North Korea's continued illegal provocative actions and are fully prepared for the possibilities of further provocation," a statement from South Korea's military said.

It was the second time in less than a week that the North has launched a Musudan missile believed to be capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam. 

The previous launch, which came on Saturday, also ended in failure as the missile exploded shortly after take-off.

The failed missile launch was the eighth attempt in seven months by the North to launch a weapon with a design range of 3,000 km (1,800 miles) that can be fired from road mobile launchers, the militaries of South Korea and the United States said.

The launch comes at a time when the U.S. and South Korea are working towards boosting their own military efforts to counter the North's military offensive, which it is carrying out in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

The U.S. is also reassuring close ally South Korea that it has its back, saying American support to South Korea was "unwavering," in the context of the North attempting to carry out any attack or using a nuclear weapon against the American ally.

"Make no mistake, any attack on America or our allies will not only be defeated, but any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an overwhelming and effective response," U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated.

Following the numerous launches by North Korea this year, South Korea is concerned that the threat posed by the North is "more grave than ever."

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry also warned on Wednesday that any attack on American allies or use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an "overwhelming" U.S. response. 

The U.S. and China, which is the North's traditional ally and main trading partner, are currently negotiating at the UN Security Council on tightening sanctions in wake of the September 9 nuclear test conducted by Pyongyang. 

The U.S., South Korea and Japan are considering additional sanctions of their own.

North Korea, on its part, has repeatedly warned that it may carry out further nuclear tests and says it is prepared to launch a preemptive strike on the United States if American forces are mobilised against the country.

"The U.S. has nuclear weapons off our coast, targeting our country, our capital and our Dear Leader, Kim Jong Un," a top North Korean official, Lee Yong Pil, said in an exclusive interview with NBC News.

"We will not step back as long as there's a nuclear threat to us from the United States," added Lee, who is director of North Korea's Foreign Ministry's Institute for American Studies.

Meanwhile, the chief of South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) has backed the veracity of a controversial memoir by former South Korea Foreign Minister Song Min-soon. 

NIS Director Lee Byung-ho backed the claim in the book, according to which Roh Moo-hyun administration in 2007 checked with Pyongyang before deciding to abstain from a UN vote on a North Korean human rights resolution.


Play raises awareness of defector integration issues 

A play in South Korea is depicting the experiences of North Korean defectors to the country. 

"Memories of Jagang Province" is an original play relating the stories of defectors from Jagang Province. 

The purpose through this project was to form a cultural bond of mutual understanding between the two Koreas. 

Unlike other plays about North Korea, which often center on stories about the prison camp system or the grim process of defection, this play sought to focus on the lives of defectors settling in South Korea.

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