'Considerable Damage': N Korea Reportedly Hit Own City With Ballistic Missile

'Considerable Damage': N Korea Reportedly Hit Own City With Ballistic Missile

According to U.S. government sources quoted in The Diplomat, an online magazine, the intermediate range Hwasong-12 missile veered off course after being fired from the Pukchang Airfield on April 28 previous year.

The Diplomat says that when it compared older and newer images of the failed missile's apparent crash site - which was said by its US source to be an industrial area in the city of Tokchon, 39 kilometres to the east of the launch - differences were apparent in the newer images.

One such missile reportedly hit one of North Korean cities minutes after it was launched.

A Google image of the site where The Diplomat says a failed missile came crashing to earth.
Google
A Google image of the site where The Diplomat says a failed missile came crashing to earth. Google

The Diplomat reports that a U.S. government source with knowledge of the launch says the missile failed after just a single minute of airtime. The Diplomat says the missile caused "considerable damage to a complex of industrial or agricultural buildings" but couldn't confirm if there were any casualties.

There have been no reported deaths as a result of the apparent stray rocket, but the damaged building is close to heavily populated areas.

Since the failed test, North Korea has successfully launched an ICBM, and the tension between the two countries has ramped up significantly. The accident in Tokchon was reportedly the third failed test of a Hwasong-12 missile that same month.

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The highly troubling report again highlights the dangers of North Korea's missile ambitions and raises concerns that should a future launch fail at the wrong time, the trajectory of the missile could appear to resemble an attack on Japan. And there has been times they have done it from heavily populated regions.

With those changes, the US would only have a few hours to detect pre-launch preparations in the event that North Korea prepares to strike.

Kim Jong-un could be seen walking alongside a huge new mobile launch platform, which Pyongyang said was specifically constructed for the missile, before the rocket was maneuvered into place.

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North Korea used key components of the Hwasong-12 to develop the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14, successfully test-launched twice in July, and the Hwasong-15 in November, putting the whole of the US mainland within the rocket's reach.

More news: Korea's Kim says US will never start war

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