Feedback
News

North Korea’s Celebratory Missile Launch Was a Dud: South

It seems North Korea experienced projectile dysfunction while celebrating its founder's birthday.

Officials in South Korea on Friday said that an early-morning missile launched by the North was a failure.

"Our ministry confirms that North Korea has attempted to launch a missile off its eastern coast at dawn but we assume that it failed," a South Korean military officer told NBC News. "At this moment, we are strengthening our military preparedness and are continuing with vigilant monitoring of North Korean movements."

The launch was reportedly to celebrate the birthday of North Korea's founding leader, Kim Il-Sung, who also is the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-Un.

Related: North Korea Not Likely Able to Hit U.S. With Nuclear Strikes: U.S. Officials

"Today (April 15) happens to be the birthday of North Korea's founding leader, Kim Il Sung and I think Kim Jong-Un, the grandson, is trying to reaffirm to his people that the legitimacy and the power based on North Korea's nuclear and missile technology has been handed down to him, especially before major People's Party convention set for early May," said Koh Yu Hwan, a North Korean studies professor at Dongguk University in Seoul.

"But, at the same time, Kim Jong Un seems to be sending out a stronger message to the U.S. and its allies that continued sanctions and pressure will only strengthen his resolved to develop its nuclear and missiles weapon technologies while insinuating that easing could lead to dialogue," Koh said.

Related: 'A Big Hoax': Experts Say North Korea Showing Off Missiles That Can't Fly

North Korea has in the past celebrated Kim Il-Sung birthday of the founding leader by launching missiles.

The missile launched this time, experts say, is likely to be a much talked about mid-to-long range missile, that could potentially reach U.S. soil.

"Considering the latest movements observed, it is almost certain to be the intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), which they call Musudan (BM-25) with 3000-4000 kilometer (1800-2400 miles) target range — long enough to reach Guam — and if so, it is the first time that North Korea has openly demonstrated their IRBM capability," said Yang Uk, a North Korera expert at Korea Defense and Security Forum.

"The fact that the attempted launch failed is not the point as the point is that North Korea is clearly saying that they are determined to continue to develop missile technology and they will eventually succeed in possessing the full technology over the time," Yang said.

Image: A man uses binoculars to watch the North side at the Imjingak Pavilion
A man uses binoculars to watch the North side at the Imjingak Pavilion near the border with North Korea, in Paju, in Seoul, South Korea, on April 15, 2016. A North Korean launch of a missile on the birthday of its revered founder appears to have failed, South Korean and U.S. defense officials said Friday. Lee Jin-man / AP