South Korea’s military apologizes after missile launch fails in response to North Korea’s alarm
South Korea’s military has apologized after a failed missile launch during a joint exercise with the United States raised alarm among residents of the coastal town of Gangneung at 1 a.m. Wednesday ( 4:00 p.m. GMT Tuesday).
Residents of South Korea reported hearing an explosion and seeing a fire overnight, but the military, which said there were no casualties, did not acknowledge the incident until seven hours later.
The missile launch was in response to North Korea firing a missile over Japan early Tuesday, the first time Pyongyang has flown a missile over Japan since 2017.
The North Korean show of force provoked a show of force from the United States, Japan and South Korea who conducted military exercises. Seoul and Washington also fired a volley of missiles into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
The South Korean military later confirmed that one of its missiles failed shortly after launch and crashed.
The military also said the Hyunmoo-2 missile carried a warhead but did not explode and apologized for causing concern.
Tuesday’s North Korean missile launch was Pyongyang’s fifth in a week. Many of its missile tests are conducted on a flight path that reaches a high altitude, avoiding flights over its neighbors.
In September, North Korea passed a law declaring itself a nuclear-weapon state, with leader Kim Jong-un ruling out the possibility of denuclearization talks.