After Saturday came and went without any provocation out of North Korea on its national holiday, many asked if Kim Jong-Un had finally learned his lesson.
Well, according to South Korean news agency, not only did Kim not learn any lesson – or heed Trump’s warning that a nuclear test or missile launch would be grounds for a US military strike – but Kim was not even successful in properly defying the US as according to the Joint Chiefs of the South Korean army, North Korea fired an unidentified missile but the test failed. The incident occurred a day after Kim Jong Un oversaw an elaborate military parade in the center of Pyongyang as the world watched for any provocations that risk sparking a conflict with the U.S.
According to a US official quoted by CBS, the launched missile was not an intercontinental ballistic missile, which North Korea has claimed to possess but has never successfully tested. It’s unclear why the missile failed.
As Yonhap further reports, North Korea’s attempted missile launch on Sunday ended in failure, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
“The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from near the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed,” the South’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement
The missile launch attempt came amid rising tensions with the United States that is sending an aircraft-carrier strike group to waters off the Korean Peninsula to deter potential North Korean provocations such as a nuclear test.
As VoA reports, there is still no information on the type of missile the DPRK tried to launch from Sinpo, where North Korea has a submarine base. What we do know, however, is that the time of the missile launch was at 06:20 am Korean time.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) April 15, 2017
That said, in light of the recent NYT report that the US has been able to sabotage and remotely control North Korean launches for years courtesy of cyberattacks, one does wonder if the US did not play at least a minor role in this attempted, but failed, launch.
Three years ago, President Barack Obama ordered Pentagon officials to step up their cyber and electronic strikes against North Korea’s missile program in hopes of sabotaging test launches in their opening seconds.
Soon a large number of the North’s military rockets began to explode, veer off course, disintegrate in midair and plunge into the sea. Advocates of such efforts say they believe that targeted attacks have given American antimissile defenses a new edge and delayed by several years the day when North Korea will be able to threaten American cities with nuclear weapons launched atop intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Sabotage or not, at this moment Vice President Mike Pence is en route to South Korea on Saturday night for meetings with officials amid increased tensions in the region over Pyongyang’s nuclear program and missile tests.
As we await more information, the immediate question is whether the mere intent to test the US’ resolve, even if such an attempt was ultimately a failure will be sufficient for the US to commence bombing Pyongyang. Recall that two days ago, NBC reported that the US is prepared to launch preemptive strikes on North Korea in case Kim Jong-Un was planning on conducting a nuclear test. One can probably extrapolate the same logic to ballistic misisle launches, especially now that North Korea revealed a new, far bigger ICBM during the Saturday parade.
We expect the answer whether the US will strike North Korea to be revealed within the next few hours.