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Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 09:36

DPRK missile launch fails: ROK officials

By Reuters

DPRK missile launch fails: ROK officials
This undated picture released from DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 30, 2016 shows DPRK leader Kim Jong-un (center) visiting the construction site of the medical oxygen factory in Pyongyang. (KNS / KCNA / AFP)

SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) attempted to fire a missile from its east coast early on Tuesday morning but the launch appears to have failed, Republic of Korea (ROK) military officials told Reuters.

The launch attempt took place around 5:20 am Seoul time (2020 GMT), said the officials, who asked not to be identified, without elaborating.

Japan put its military alert on Monday for a possible DPRK ballistic missile launch, state broadcaster NHK reported.

Tension in Northeast Asia has been high since DPRK conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and followed that with a satellite launch and test launches of various missiles.

ROK's Yonhap News Agency said it appeared DPRK had attempted to launch an intermediate-range Musudan missile. DPRK attempted three test launches of the Musudan in April, all of which failed, US and ROK officials have said.

DPRK has never had a successful launch of the Musudan, which theoretically has the range to reach any part of Japan and the US territory of Guam.

The attempted launch took place near the east coast city of Wonson, one of the ROK officials said, the same area where previous Musudan tests had taken place.

The flurry of weapons technology tests this year had come in the run-up to the first congress in 36 years of DPRK's ruling Worker's Party early this month. Tuesday's attempted launch appears to have been its first missile test since then.

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