China accuses North Korea of sabre-rattling after missile test

North Korea tried to launch Musudan ballistic missile to mark birthday of Kim Il-sung

A Central Committee meeting to mark the 104th birthday of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung: the missile was launched in his honour. Photograph: Korean Central News Agency/ Reuters

A Central Committee meeting to mark the 104th birthday of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung: the missile was launched in his honour. Photograph: Korean Central News Agency/ Reuters

 

North Korea’s attempt to launch an intermediate range Musudan ballistic missile off its east coast to mark the 104th birthday of founding father Kim Il-sung has ended in failure, South Korea said.

“North Korea seems to have tried a missile launch from the East Sea area in the early morning today but it is presumed to have failed,” South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said, quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

The failed launch of the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), also known as the BM-25, prompted an unusually strong reaction from state media in North Korea’s closest ally China, which has been stung by the North’s refusal to take part in dialogue to resolve the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

“The firing of a mid-range ballistic missile on Friday by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), though failed, marks the latest in a string of sabre-rattling that, if unchecked, will lead the country to nowhere,” the Xinhua news agency said in a statement, using the North’s official title, DPRK.

The Musudan has a range of between 3,000km and 4,000km, and can fly over South Korea and Japan to reach as far as the Pacific island of Guam, where US military forces are stationed.

The failed launch is the latest since North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January, which led to fresh sanctions.