Despite earlier claims by North Korea that it fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, two US officials tell Fox News that one blew up shortly after lift-off in an embarrassing new development for the North Korean military.
A US defense official Thursday evening said North Korea launched two ballistic missiles, but did not specify how far each missile traveled. Both missiles were Nodong medium-range ballistic missiles, based on the Soviet-era Scud-C missile.
“Neither was assessed to be a threat to the U.S. or our regional allies. These launches are a violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions,” the official said.
Both missiles were launched from mobile road launchers, making it difficult to track their movement since the launchers can be easily hidden.
One of the missiles, launched from the west coast of North Korea north of the capital, Pyongyang, flew hundreds of miles into the Sea of Japan, marking a dangerous escalation in North Korea’s missile program.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said the U.S. military can knock any North Korean ballistic missile out of the sky.
On January 6, North Korea claimed to have detonated a hydrogen bomb, a claim later refuted by US officials.
President Obama signed new sanctions earlier this week targeting North Korea’s coal industry, which some analysts suspect fuels its missile program.
An earlier sanctions bill signed by the president in recent days targeted luxury goods consumed by North Korea’s elite.
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