Headline That Nearly Sparked World War III

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Beijing: An official Chinese news agency mistakenly published claims that North Korea had launched a missile during the country’s Day of the Sun celebrations.

The potentially devastating allegation came as tensions boil between North Korea and the United States. The story was picked up by American news giant Bloomberg who ran it with the headline ‘North Korea Fires Projectile Media, Says Xinhua’. But the agency had made a massive error as the fact was merely that North Korea had revealed the missiles during its Day of the Sun parade.

State TV had shown images of the Pukkuksong-2 SLBMs on trucks waiting to be paraded in front of leader Kim Jong-un. Once the blunder was realised and Xinhua had clarified its mistake, reporters swiftly amended the headline to ‘North Korean Missile Seen at Military Parade: Xinhua’. The Xinhua News Agency is the official press agency of the Chinese government and is the biggest and most influential in the country.

During the parade North Korea showed two new kinds of intercontinental ballistic missiles enclosed in canister launchers and mounted on the back of transporter erector launcher trucks, or TELs. The larger weapon was similar in appearance to the Chinese DF-41, which can fly 9,000 miles. The SLBMs were shown to the public for the first time after a successful test in 2016. They have a range of over 600 miles.

Other military hardware at the parade included tanks, multiple rocket launchers and artillery guns, as well as a solid-fuel missile designed to be fired from submarines.

Kim has accused US President Donald Trump of provoking his nation towards armed conflict with a series of increasingly aggressive moves, including sending the USS Carl Vinson to the Korean peninsula.

US officials feared the dictator would mark the national holiday by launching North Korea’s sixth nuclear weapons test, since the country has used previous holidays to showcase its military prowess.

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