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Thursday, 4 January 2018

Did North Korea accidentally hit one of its own cities with a missile? Satellite images 'show failed test launch struck town with population of 200,000'

  • Satellite images 'show damage caused to a building after failed rocket launch' 
  • Hwasong missile crashed down in Tokchon, north of Pyongyang, it is claimed
  • US government official says the rocket travelled just 25 miles on April 28, 2017

North Korea may have accidentally hit one its own cities with a missile, it has been claimed.
Satellite images show damage caused by a failed test launch that struck Tokchon, a city of 200,000 in the interior of Kim Jong-un's secretive state, according to a US government official.
The Hwasong KN-17 medium-range rocket was fired from Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province, 40 miles north of Pyongyang on April 28 last year, it is claimed.
But it failed shortly after take-off, the Diplomat reports, before crashing down in the Chongsin-dong area of Tokchon, apparently damaging what looks like an agricultural or industrial building.

North Korea may have accidentally hit one its own cities with a missile, it has been claimed. File picture shows a North Korean medium range rocket launch in August

North Korea may have accidentally hit one its own cities with a missile, it has been claimed. File picture shows a North Korean medium range rocket launch in August

Satellite images from May 2017 show damage caused by a failed test launch that struck the North Korean city of Tokchon weeks earlier in April, according to a US government official

Satellite images from May 2017 show damage caused by a failed test launch that struck the North Korean city of Tokchon weeks earlier in April, according to a US government official

Google Earth images show the same site in October 2016 when it appears that one of the 'damaged' buildings had not yet been constructed

Google Earth images show the same site in October 2016 when it appears that one of the 'damaged' buildings had not yet been constructed

The Hwasong KN-17 medium-range rocket was fired from Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province, 40 miles north of Pyongyang on April 28 last year, it is claimed

The Hwasong KN-17 medium-range rocket was fired from Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province, 40 miles north of Pyongyang on April 28 last year, it is claimed

The unnamed source pointed out where the rocket had landed and Google Earth images taken on May 18 last year, just weeks after the launch, appear to show damage to a greenhouse-style structure at the same spot. 
The official, who is described as having knowledge of North Korea's weapons programmes, told the Diplomat that the missile's flight lasted just one minute before suffering engine malfunction and travelling 25 miles northeast before crashing down.

Had it completed its flight without failing, it may have been destined to land in the northern parts of the Sea of Japan, the Diplomat reports. 
There have been no reported deaths as a result of the apparent stray rocket, but the damaged building is close to heavily populated areas. 
In November, North Korea test-fired its most powerful ICBM ever which is likely capable of striking almost anywhere on earth.
Kim Jong-un could be seen walking alongside a huge new mobile launch platform, which Pyongyang said was specifically constructed for the missile, before the rocket was maneuvered into place. 
The Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile was launched eastward from Pyongsong in North Korea's South Pyongan Province.

Kim Jong-un (centre) has pursued an aggressive programme of nuclear and missile development over the last year

Kim Jong-un (centre) has pursued an aggressive programme of nuclear and missile development over the last year

North Korea reopened a long-closed border hotline with South Korea on Wednesday, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump (pictured) appeared to mock Kim Jong Un by saying he has a 'bigger and more powerful' nuclear button than Kim does
North Korea reopened a long-closed border hotline with South Korea on Wednesday, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump (pictured) appeared to mock Kim Jong Un by saying he has a 'bigger and more powerful' nuclear button than Kim does

It flew for around 50 minutes, reaching an unprecedented altitude of 2,800 miles, before splashing down in the Sea of Japan around 620 miles away.
It marked the first missile launched since one was fired across Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on September 15. 
Yesterday, North Korea reopened a long-closed border hotline with South Korea on Wednesday, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to mock Kim Jong Un by saying he has a 'bigger and more powerful' nuclear button than Kim does.
The reopening of the line, which North Korea shut down in February 2016, came only hours after Trump, who has repeatedly mocked Kim as 'Little Rocket Man', ridiculed the North Korean leader again on Twitter.
'Will someone from his depleted and food-starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!' Trump tweeted.
Trump and Kim have exchanged insults in recent months, raising alarm worldwide, with Trump at times dismissing the prospect of a diplomatic solution to a crisis in which both sides have threatened to destroy each other. 
On Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the Voice of America Trump was responding to Kim's New Year comment about having a nuclear button on his desk, and making clear that 'America will not be bullied, America will not be threatened.' 

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