SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States and South Korea said they detected a failed North Korean missile launch Wednesday, the country's second failed test in less than a week.
The U.S. Strategic Command issued a statement late Wednesday saying it presumed the missile was a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday that the launch was attempted near an airport in North Korea's Pyongan province, where the North on Saturday unsuccessfully tried to launch what U.S. and South Korean military officials assessed as the same type of missile.
Cho June-hyuck, spokesman of South Korea's Foreign Ministry, said the latest launches show North Korea's "fanatical obsession" with nuclear weapons and missile developments.
"Such repeated provocations only aggravate North Korea's isolation from the international community and economic hardship and further strengthen the international community's determination toward (adopting) a new resolution of strong sanctions," Cho said.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross, said the U.S. condemns the attempted missile launch, calling it a provocation. He said the U.S. government intends to raise its concerns at the United Nations.
Musudan missiles have a potential range of about 3,500 kilometers (2,180 miles), which would put U.S. military bases in Guam within their striking distance. North Korea is also pushing to develop a nuclear-armed long-range missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, although U.S. and South Korean experts believe it doesn't currently have such a weapon.
North Korea on Wednesday vowed to continue launching satellites as part of its "peaceful" space development plans, although outsiders see the country's space launches as a cover for banned tests of long-range missile technology. Experts say a militarized version of the rocket the North used to put its second satellite into orbit in February would potentially have the range to reach the U.S. mainland.
An anchor from North Korea's state-run Korean Central Television said that the North Korea will launch more satellites to "conquer" space, even if rival South Korea "barks" at the launches like a "mad dog."