Published On: Sat, Aug 26th, 2017

Kim Jong-un inspects his troops as missiles prove to be duds


North Korea launched a trio of short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast in the early hours of Saturday which appear to be in response to the military exercises carried out by US and South Korean troops.

The US military have claimed that two of the missiles failed in flight and the other blew up “almost immediately”.

They were launched between 6.19am and 6.49am local time in North Korea and landed to the east of North Korea’s Kangwon province.

A spokesman for US Pacific Command said none of the missiles, which it said were launched near Kittaeryong, had posed a threat to either North America or the US Pacific territory of Guam, which North Korea had threatened earlier this month to surround in a “sea of fire”.

US military spokesman Commander Dave Benham said: “The first and third missiles… failed in flight. The second missile launch… appears to have blown up almost immediately.”

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missiles did not reach its territory or exclusive economic zone and did not pose a threat to Japan’s safety.

Kim Jong-un though was putting a brave face the humiliation as he as been out inspecting his troops when special operation forces engaged on a strike exercise at an undisclosed location.

The dictator appeared to be all-smiling in images released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The official KCNA news agency quoted Kim as telling its Army that it “should think of mercilessly wiping out the enemy with arms only and occupying Seoul at one go and the southern half of Korea.”

A new poster on a North Korean propaganda website on Saturday showed a missile dealing “a retaliatory strike of justice” against the U.S. mainland, threatening to “wipe out the United States, the source of evil, without a trace.”

North Korea’s action comes as troops from the US and South Korea, as well as other allied countries, carry out annual military exercises under the banner of Ulchi Freedom Guardian

Washington has repeatedly urged China, North Korea’s main ally and trading partner, to do more to rein in Pyongyang.

China’s commerce ministry late on Friday banned North Korean individuals and enterprises from doing new business in China, in line with United Nations Security Council sanctions passed earlier this month.

The White House said US President Donald Trump had been briefed about the latest missiles but did not immediately have further comment.

Mr Trump also expressed optimism earlier this week about a possible improvement in relations.

He said: ”I respect the fact that he [Kim Jong-un] is starting to respect us.”

The official KCNA news agency quoted Kim as telling its Army that it “should think of mercilessly wiping out the enemy with arms only and occupying Seoul at one go and the southern half of Korea.”

A new poster on a North Korean propaganda website on Saturday showed a missile dealing “a retaliatory strike of justice” against the U.S. mainland, threatening to “wipe out the United States, the source of evil, without a trace.”

On Wednesday, Kim ordered the production of more rocket engines and missile warheads during a visit to a facility associated with North Korea’s ballistic missile programme.

Diagrams and what appeared to be missile parts shown in photographs published in the North’s state media suggested Pyongyang was pressing ahead with building a longer-range ballistic missile that could potentially reach any part of the US mainland including Washington.


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