North Korean test missile explodes on launch

Posted April 18, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea A North Korean missile exploded during launch Sunday, U.S. and South Korean officials said, a high-profile failure that comes as a powerful U.S. aircraft supercarrier approaches the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.

Ahead of Pence's arrival, North Korea's vice foreign minister told The Associated Press in an interview that Trump was the culprit of escalating tensions through his tweets and expansion of military exercises, arguing that the USA was becoming "more vicious and more aggressive" under Trump compared to his predecessor.

A fresh North Korean missile test failed when it exploded after launch Sunday, the U.S. military said, a day after Pyongyang defiantly showcased its ballistic arsenal at a giant military parade.

Former British Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind first suggested to the BBC that the USA could have been behind the failed attempt through an act of sabotage.

Pence was departing from Alaska when North Korea launched a ballistic missile that exploded within a few seconds.

"The President has made clear that he will not accept the United States and its allies and partners in the region being under threat from this hostile regime with nuclear weapons".

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"We stand alongside our global partners in making clear that North Korea must adhere to United Nations resolutions created to secure peace and stability in the region and stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons", he said.

"But at the same time, they have made steady progress while we have made agreement after agreement after agreement".

The North Koreans use Sinpo shipyard for their submarine activity, and U.S. satellites have observed increased activity there in April, a USA official said at the time of the previous test. "I'm blaming Republican and Democrat presidents over the last 20 years while they continue to make progress".

A USA military spokesman, confirming the launch, said the missile blew up nearly immediately.

Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017.

His visit, full of Cold War symbolism, and his remarks to reporters come amid increasing tensions and heated rhetoric on the Korean Peninsula.

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President Donald Trump has labeled North Korea a "problem" country and says it will be dealt with through a broad - and vague - set of options.

"We've seen the Chinese already take some initial steps", the official said, citing the turning back of the coal ships. "We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons, and also its continual use and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable". The good news is that after five seconds it fizzled out."Pence is in Seoul at the beginning of a 10-day trip to Asia in what his aides said was a sign of US commitment to its ally in the face of rising tension".

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two past year.

One hour later he posted, "Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before".

The North regularly launches short-range missiles, but is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target US troops in Asia and, eventually, the USA mainland.

China banned imports of North Korean coal on February 26, cutting off its most important export. A USA aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, is heading to waters off Korea in a show of force. Recent satellite imagery suggests the country could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

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