A new intelligence report has revealed on Wednesday that North Korea apparently launch a missile and accidentally hit one of their own cities.
The incident occurred in April, when they were trying out one of their intermediate-range ballistic missile. There were six trials and the first three failed miserably, one which fired into a town not far from the test site.
“North Korea conducted its third test of the previously-unseen Hwasong-12 IRBM, an impressive weapon that served as a stepping stone in the development of a longer-range missile able to range the U.S. mainland, on April 28, 2017,” reports the DC. “The missile fell out of the sky over North Korean territory after its first-stage engines failed after about a minute of powered flight, The Diplomat reports, citing U.S. government sources with knowledge of the North’s weapons programs.”
The report continued, “Relying on photographs released by North Korea during a concert held in July, Dave Schmerler, a geolocation specialist and research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and Ankit Panda, a foreign affairs expert and the senior editor at The Diplomat, were able to use satellite images to identify both the launch site and the impact point for the April 28 missile test.”
The faulty missile was launched out of Pukchang Airfield and landed in the city of Tokchon; and agricultural or industrial complex. According to US government source, the liquid-fueled missile did not explode in flight, and there is reason to believe it exploded upon impact with the earth, causing quite the damage.
As far as the total damage done, it is unknown, however there are clear differences in the before and after satellite images of the building which was believed to be the casualty of the failed missile.
“What makes this type of failure alarming is that after a successful lofted test of the Hwasong-12 in May, North Korea proceeded to fire its new weapon out of the populated capital city of Pyongyang and over Japan into the Pacific Ocean,” said the DC report. “Were the missile to fail over Pyongyang, it could cause kill civilians, and the same is true of a similar failure over Japan. Were the North to accidentally strike a U.S. ally, it might trigger a regional military conflict.”
“Such a catastrophe is possible with a dummy warhead, and North Korea has threatened to possibly conduct a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific. A failure involving a live nuclear warhead over North Korea or over a neighboring country could easily lead to the deaths of thousands of people. Regardless of whether or not North Korea accidentally slammed a ballistic missile into one of its cities, there are many serious risks associated with North Korea’s weapons testing, which is expected to continue in the year ahead.”