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Pyongyang fires suspected hypersonic missile, test fails says South Korea

Photo: Ahn Young-joon Associated Press Images of the North Korean missile were broadcast on South Korean television on Wednesday June 26.

France Media Agency in Seoul

Published at 12:49 a.m.

  • Asia

North Korea conducted a test firing of what appears to be a hypersonic missile early Wednesday, a South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff official said, adding that the launch was was concluded with an explosion in flight.

This shot came just a few hours after Pyongyang sent new balloons loaded with waste to South Korea which led to the suspension of departures and arrivals at Incheon airport, near Seoul.

The missile was fired from North Korean territory around 05 h:30 a.m. and South Korean and U.S. intelligence services have since been conducting a detailed analysis of the shooting, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

According to an official within the JCS, Pyongyang appears to have conducted a test firing of a hypersonic missile, but the test appears to have ultimately failed after a flight of around 250 kilometers ended with an explosion.

An unusual amount of smoke appeared to be coming from the craft, the JCS official reported, raising the possibility of combustion problems. According to the same source, the missile may have been propelled by solid fuel.

Japan also confirmed the launch and its coast guard indicated that the missile had finally sunk into the Sea of ​​Japan.

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North Korea's previous missile launch was on May 30, when Seoul accused Pyongyang of firing a salvo of a dozen short-range ballistic missiles.

Analysts suggest North Korea is ramping up missile production to supply Russia as part of its war in Ukraine, according to a report last month by the Pentagon confirmed.

Wednesday's launch comes amid heightened cross-border tensions, with North Korea having recently increased the number of balloons loaded with rubbish into South Korean territory.

New balloons from the North

Monday and Tuesday, Pyongyang once again sent hundreds of balloons weighted with waste across the inter-Korean border.

According to a South Korean military analysis, the balloons carried “mainly paper waste” which posed no risk to the population.

One of the North Korean aerostats from this latest shipment fell at a boarding gate at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, an infrastructure management official told AFP.

According to the same source, domestic and international arrivals and departures “were suspended for more than three hours from 1:46 a.m. to 4:43 a.m.” The airport has been operating normally since then, according to the same official.

Pyongyang has already sent more than a thousand balloons carrying waste to the South, which it presents as retaliation for sending balloons carrying propaganda by South Korean activists opposed to Pyongyang's number one, Kim Jong-un.

In response, Seoul completely suspended a military agreement aimed at reducing tensions, and relaunched some propaganda broadcasts via loudspeakers along the border.

Military exercises

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful sister and top government spokeswoman, Kim Yo Jong, warned South Korea earlier this month that if leaflet drops and loudspeaker broadcasts continued, Seoul “would undoubtedly witness another counter-offensive” from North Korea.

On Tuesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visited a gate -American planes arrived in its country for joint military exercises.

These exercises, in which Japan is also taking part, are due to begin later in June.

Pyongyang considers exercises of this type to be rehearsals for an invasion.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116