Korea Says N. Korea Fires Missile But Appears to Have Failed

SEOUL (Reuters) -

North Korea fired one missile from its east coast just before 6 a.m. on Wednesday (2100 GMT Tuesday) but it appears to have failed, South Korea’s military officials said.

The missile launched was believed to be an intermediate-range Musudan missile, said one of the officials, who asked for anonymity because he was not formally authorized to speak to the media.

The U.S. military has detected a missile launch from North Korea, Navy Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman from the U.S. military’s Pacific Command, told Reuters on Tuesday, without providing details.

Japan on Tuesday put its military on alert for a possible North Korean ballistic missile launch and South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said, citing an unnamed government source, that the North was seen to be moving an intermediate-range missile to its east coast.

North Korea has failed in all four previous attempts to launch the Musudan, which theoretically has the range to reach any part of Japan and the U.S. territory of Guam.

North Korea is believed to have up to 30 Musudan missiles, according to South Korean media, which officials said were first deployed around 2007, although the North had never attempted to test-fire them until this year.