Seoul, Oct 5 (AP) A malfunctioning South Korean ballistic missile was grounded on Wednesday during a live-fire drill with the United States, a day before North Korea’s successful launch of a warhead There was vengeance for. Japan and Guam are bordering on attacking American territory.
The explosion and subsequent fires panicked and confused residents of the coastal city of Gangneung, who were already uncomfortable with increasingly provocative weapons testing by rival North Korea.
His concern was that it could be a North Korean attack, as military and government officials did not provide an explanation for the explosion for hours.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said there were no casualties from the blast, which involved a short-range Huemu-2 missile that crashed inside an air force base on the outskirts of the city.
A Joint Chiefs of Staff officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity during a background briefing, said the missile’s warhead did not explode during the accident and the fire was caused by burning rocket propellant. The official said the missile fell shortly after liftoff and no civilian facilities were affected.
Kwon Seong-dong, a governing party legislator representing Gangneung, wrote Facebook that “the weapons system is run with taxpayer money like our blood, putting our own people at risk” and called on the military to conduct a thorough investigation into the missile’s failure.
He also criticized the army for not issuing notices about the failure while maintaining a media ban on the joint exercise.
“It was an irresponsible response,” Kwon wrote. “They don’t even have an official press release yet.”
South Korea’s military acknowledged the malfunction, hours after Internet users sounded the alarm about the explosion and posted a social media video in which an orange ball of fire was visible from the area they described near the air force base. It said it was investigating what caused the missile’s “abnormal flight”.
Gangneung’s fire department and city hall officials said emergency personnel were sent to an air force base and a nearby military base in response to calls about a possible explosion, but were turned back by military officials. .
US and South Korean forces are conducting joint exercises to demonstrate their ability to deter North Korean attacks in the south. During Tuesday’s exercise, he scored bombing runs by F-15 strike jets using precision weapons and launched two missiles that are part of the Army’s strategic missile system.
Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was to return east of South Korea on Wednesday to demonstrate the Allies’ “determination” to counter North Korea’s continued provocations and threats.
The carrier was part of exercises with South Korea and Japan last week.
The home Humu-2 is the key to South Korea’s pre-emptive and counter-attack strategies against North Korea. Some versions of the missile are similar to the Russian-designed Iskander missiles, which also inspired a local version in North Korea because it was able to evade South Korea’s missile defenses due to its arsenal of nuclear-capable short-range weapons. expands.
The successful launch of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile by North Korea hours before the exercise was the country’s most provocative weapons display since 2017 and the fifth round of weapons tests in 10 days.
That missile has a range capable of striking Guam, one of the largest military facilities built by the US in Asia. North Korea also tested missiles capable of hitting the continental United States in 2017.
Japan’s lower house, the more powerful of the two-chamber parliament, on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning North Korea’s launch, saying the flight over Japan was a “serious and imminent” threat to the country’s security. Is.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said the country’s deputy nuclear envoy Lee Tae-woo met US counterpart Jang Park in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss recent North Korean launches and measures to counter the threat and bring Pyongyang vowed to strengthen three-way cooperation with Tokyo. Back at the negotiating table.
North Korea has fired about 40 ballistic missiles at about 20 different launch events this year, taking advantage of Russia’s war Ukraine And deep divisions in the UN Security Council to accelerate the development of its weapons without risking further sanctions.
Its aim is to develop a fully developed nuclear arsenal capable of allowing the US mainland and its allies to be recognized as a nuclear state and to obtain concessions from those countries.
The United States, Britain, France, Albania, Norway and Ireland called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over the latest North Korean launch. The open meeting was to be held on Wednesday at 3 pm.
Washington’s nuclear diplomacy with Pyongyang has stalled since 2019 over disagreements in exchanges for the release of US-led sanctions against the North’s disarmament moves.