North Korea's missile launch Tuesday appears to have failed, according to South Korean officials.
“The attempted missile launch... is believed to have failed,” a spokesman for the South's defense ministry said. “We are analyzing and closely monitoring the situation and maintaining a watertight defense posture.”
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff released a statement saying the missile was launched around 5:20 a.m. Monday in the East, near the port city of Wonsan.
Earlier in the day, Japanese broadcaster NHK said the government has put its military on alert for a possible launch. Japan had also ordered its naval destroyers to shoot down any projectiles that threaten its territory. A South Korean defense official said Seoul had been maintaining “combat readiness.”
Officials did not specify the missile type but reports say it is likely to be a intermediate-range Musudan missile, similar to one the North unsuccessfully tried to test launch three times in April.
The missile reportedly has a range of 3,000-4,000 kilometers which, if fired successfully, could reach targets in Japan, China and Guam.
The Musudan is based on an old Soviet submarine launch ballistic missile design that the North converted to be fired from a mobile land-based launcher.
The United Nations Security Council has banned North Korea from developing nuclear and ballistic missile technology. China, the North's key ally, has urged the government of President Kim Jong Un to return to international talks and dismantle its nuclear program for economic assistance and security guarantees.