North Korean test missile ‘fizzles’ hours before Pence arrives in South

SEOUL/PYONGYANG – A North Korean missile “blew up almost immediately” on its test launch on Sunday, the U.S. Pacific Command said, hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence landed in South Korea for talks on the North’s increasingly defiant arms programme.

The failed launch from North Korea’s east coast, ignoring repeated admonitions from major ally China, came a day after North Korea held a grand military parade in its capital, marking the birth anniversary of the state founder, displaying what appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles.

China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson exchanged views on the “situation on the Korean peninsula” by phone on Sunday, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said. Yang said the two sides should maintain dialogue.

South Korea said the North’s combined show of force “threatened the whole world” but a U.S. foreign policy adviser travelling with Pence on Air Force Two appeared to defuse some of the tension, saying the test of what was believed to be a medium-range missile had come as no surprise.

“We had good intelligence before the launch and good intelligence after the launch,” the adviser told reporters on condition of anonymity.

“It’s a failed test. It follows another failed test. So really no need to reinforce their failure. We don’t need to expend any resources against that.”The adviser said the missile’s flight lasted four or five seconds.

“It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when. The good news is that after five seconds it fizzled out.”Pence is in Seoul at the beginning of a 10-day trip to Asia in what his aides said was a sign of U.S. commitment to its ally in the face of rising tension.

The U.S. nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group is also heading to the region.

Source: Angola Press News Agency