Pyongyang: In what seems to be a major gaffe, a North Korean missile accidentally crashed into one of its own cities after a failure just minutes after its launch, reported The Times of India.
While US officials earlier said the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) disintegrated in mid-air after its launch on April 28 last year, new data suggested that it crashed into the city of Tokchon.
Tokchon is located 90 miles north of Pyongyang, the country’s capital. The city has a population of around two lakh.
The TOI report added that the missile exploded immediately on impact, causing significant damage to a complex filled with industrial or agricultural buildings.
The same was also reported by Diplomat magazine after citing a US intelligence source apart from satellite images.
After its launch from the Pukchang airfield, the missile cruised for about one minute, 24 miles to the north-east, following which the missile’s first stage engines failed a minute into the flight.
It may be noted that a liquid-fueled missile can trigger massive explosions when they malfunction. As expected, the area of impact – as per satelite images from Google Earth – showed no signs of the complex that once stood in the area.
While the damage to the building could be determined, there is no way to determine the number of deaths caused due to the strike. Considering the secretive regime of North Korea, it is highly unlikely that the number of casualties would be disclosed.
North Korea, over the past year, has emerged as a global threat, considering the slew of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles it has been testing. Japan and South Korea have been on the edge of their radar in view of the rogue nation’s activities.
Several world leaders have expressed concerns over Kim Jong-un’s arbitrary regime, but none have been as vocal as US President Donald Trump, who has engaged fiercely with the Supreme leader of North Korea.
While North Korea is trying to mend relations with its southern counterpart, the stance on the US continues to be the same.
Earlier this week, the US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the US has come across reports that the rogue nation is on the verge of testing another ballistic missile.
Both Trump and Kim Jong-un have been engaged in a “virtual war” on Twitter, as both claimed to have the better nuclear weapon than the other at their disposal.