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Friday, April 15, 2016, 14:53

DPRK missile launch failed: Seoul

By Associated Press

DPRK missile launch failed: Seoul
A man watches a TV screen showing a file footage of the missile launch conducted by DPRK, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, ROK , March 21, 2016. (AP Photo / Lee Jin-man)

SEOUL, Republic of Korea (ROK) - A Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launch of a missile on the birth anniversary of its revered founder appears to have failed, ROK and US defense officials said Friday.

Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida described the development as "provocative" and urged restraint on Pyongyang's part. He said Japan would continue to closely liaise with the United States on the matter.

"North Korea's provocative acts, in any form, are unacceptable, " Kishisa was quoted as saying, referring to DPRK.

The officials provided few details, including the type of missile, of what would be an embarrassing failure, if confirmed. The launch comes as the two Koreas trade threats amid Pyongyang's anger over annual ROK-US military drills that DPRK calls a rehearsal for an invasion.

A recent surge in belligerent threats and nuclear and missile activity in DPRK may also be linked to leader Kim Jong-un's preparations for a major ruling party meeting next month that analysts believe he will use to further solidify his autocratic rule.

The DPRK has fired a slew of missiles and artillery shells into the sea in an apparent protest against the drills.

A senior US defense official said the US Strategic Command systems have detected and tracked what officials assessed as a failed DPRK missile launch.

According to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the missile launched from DPRK did not pose a threat to North America.

ROK's Defense Ministry said it wasn't immediately known whether the missile fired Friday morning was a short-range or mid-range missile.

DPRK's launch came amid speculation in ROK that its rival was preparing to test a medium-range missile with a range of 3,500 kilometers — enough to reach US military installments in Japan and Guam. Foreign experts have nicknamed the missile "Musudan" after the village in the northeast where DPRK has a Launchpad.

Friday is the birthday anniversary of the late Kim Il-sung, the current leader's grandfather and the nation's founder. DPRK conducted a nuclear test in January, its fourth, and a long-range rocket launch in February, as well as making nuclear threats against the United States and Seoul.

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