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Saturday, April 29, 2017, 09:50

Yonhap: DPRK ballistic missile test fails

By Agencies

Yonhap: DPRK ballistic missile test fails
A man watches a TV news program reporting about the DPRK 's missile firing with a file footage, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, the ROK , April 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Saturday test-fired a ballistic missile, which exploded after liftoff, according to the Republic of Korea's Yonhap news agency.

The ballistic missile was fired from a site near Bukchang in South Pyeongan Province in the northeastern direction at about 5:30 am local time (2030 GMT Friday), but it was estimated to have failed as it exploded shortly after liftoff, the news agency quoted the Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying.

The military said more information including the missile type and flight distance was still being analyzed.

Japan condemned a the missile test launch as absolutely unacceptable and a violation of UN resolutions, and it lodged a strong protest.

One of Tokyo's major subways systems shut down all lines for 10 minutes early Saturday after receiving warning of the DPRK missile launch.

Tokyo Metro official Hiroshi Takizawa said the temporary suspension affected 13,000 passengers.

READ MORE: China opposes DPRK's missile test-launch

Service was halted on all nine lines at 6:07 am. It resumed at 6:17 am after it was clear there was no threat to Japan.

Takizawa said it was the first time service had been stopped in response to a missile launch. Train service is generally suspended in Japan immediately after large earthquakes. Tokyo Metro decided earlier this month to stop for missile launch warnings as well.

Meanwhile, the front-runner in the ROK's presidential election sees the DPRK's latest attempted missile launch as "an exercise in futility", his spokesman said.

"We urge again the Kim Jong-un regime to immediately stop reckless provocative acts and choose the path to cooperate with the international community including giving up its nuclear program," Park Kwang-on, a spokesman for Moon Jae-in, said in a statement.

We urge again the Kim Jong-un regime to immediately stop reckless provocative acts and choose the path to cooperate with the international community including giving up its nuclear program

Park Kwang-on, spokesman for Moon Jae-in

"That is a way to save itself, not a way to self-destruct," Park said.

The Trump administration could respond to the DPRK's latest failed missile test by speeding up its plans for new US sanctions against Pyongyang, a US official told Reuters on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

ALSO READ: China backs 'further response' to DPRK nuclear test

The missile test came just hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the United Nations Security Council that failure to curb the DPRK's nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to "catastrophic consequences."

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the missile was probably a medium-range missile known as a KN-17.

Britain steadfast in condemnation of DPRK's destabilizing activity: PM

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain stands steadfast in its condemnation of the destabilizing activity of the DPRK.

In statement issued through Downing Street, May said the DPRK continues to take provocative action in the Asia-Pacific region. "In the face of this belligerence we stand steadfast in our condemnation of such destabilizing activity," she said.

"Their nuclear and missile tests are a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and international obligations, and a risk to global peace and stability," she said.

The timing of the launch suggested a complex DPRK message to the world, said Kim Dong-yub, an expert at Kyungnam University's Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.

"It was planned at a complicated timing around the end of the ROK-US joint military drills, the United States talking about military options and the announcement of North Korea policies and the Security Council meeting,” Kim said.

The ROK and US forces have been conducting annual military drills since the beginning of March that conclude at the end of April.

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