North Korean Medium-Range Missile Test Fails, US Says

Geronimo Vena
Aprile 17, 2017

Tension has risen since the US Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack, raising concerns about US President Donald Trump's plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations and unilateral sanctions.

Pence will be tasked with explaining the policy in meetings with leaders in South Korea and Japan at the start of his trip, which will also include stops in Indonesia and Australia.

The warning comes amid heightening tensions between the USA and North Korea.

North Korea attempted to launch a missile on Sunday near Sinpo, on its east coast, but it is believed to have failed, South Korea's military said, Reuters reported.

A White House foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence said no US response to the missile launch was expected because there was no need for the U.S.to reinforce the failure.

After a two-month policy review, the Trump administration has settled on a policy toward the North that relies on "maximum pressure and engagement", US officials said Friday. The administration's immediate emphasis, the officials said, will be on increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of Beijing. China has backed North Korea since the peninsula was last at war in the 1950s, in part to prevent having an American ally on its border.

The launch from the city of Sinpo comes a day after one of the biggest North Korean propaganda events of the year- celebrations of the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather.

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.

The Yomiuri Shimbun North Korea made clear its defiant stance toward the United States by displaying its military capabilities.

The White House expects South Korean officials to discuss responses during Pence's visit, and he also plans to meet troops and discuss possible military steps with Army General Vincent Brooks, the commander of United States Forces Korea.

Pence's first trip to South Korea carries personal meaning as well. Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site obtained by 38 North, a program devoted to analysis of the country at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, showed activity at the site suggestive of preparations for a nuclear test. The country launched a long-range rocket and conducted the two nuclear tests past year, including its most powerful to date.

Washington and Seoul will try hard to figure out what exactly North Korea fired. He has repeatedly declared that if China, North Korea's dominant trading partner, isn't willing to do more to squeeze the North, the USA might take the matter into its own hands.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw an elaborate military parade in the center of Pyongyang on Saturday as the world watched for any provocations that risk sparking a conflict with the U.S. The Associated Press has reported, citing unidentified USA officials, that Washington would focus on "maximum pressure and engagement" to induce the North to denuclearize.

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