North Korean Missile Explodes, Presidential Office and Military Clash Over Details
North Korea’s Missile Explodes Day After Satellite Provocation
A ballistic missile launched by North Korea the day after the launch of its military reconnaissance satellite No. 1 exploded in mid-air, sparking interest in its specific specifications.
Cho Tae Yong, the head of the National Security Office, disclosed that North Korea’s attempt to launch a new medium-range ballistic missile (IRBM) with a solid fuel engine had failed. However, military authorities refrained from providing specific comments.
At a regular briefing on the 4th, Jeon Ha Gyu, a Ministry of National Defense spokesperson, noted some differences between the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s announcement at the time of the provocation and Cho’s comments on the North Korean missile specifications.
Previously, Cho appeared on the Korean current affairs TV show Sunday Diagnosis and stated, “Not long ago, less than a month ago, North Korea fired a solid fuel IRBM and failed. Because North Korea has failed once, the possibility of them trying again is very high.”
Timeline of Missile Failure
Although Cho did not mention a specific time, he referred to the only case of a North Korean missile failing within a month, which occurred on the 22nd of last month, the day after the satellite provocation. Early in the morning of the 23rd of last month, the Joint Chiefs of Staff reported, “At around 11:05 pm yesterday, North Korea presumably failed to launch an unidentified ballistic missile from the Sunan area towards the East Sea,” and added, “US and South Korean intelligence authorities are conducting additional analysis.” US and South Korean intelligence authorities described this incident as a launch failure after about two hours of analysis following North Korea’s missile provocation.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff also stated that the missile exploded immediately after launch and that “it is difficult to detect an unidentified projectile until it rises several kilometers into the air due to the curvature of the earth.” They refrained from commenting on the specific specifications of the missile.
However, since Cho publicly mentioned “Solid Engine IRBM,” the military authorities and the presidential office have sent different messages.
Responding to criticism that ‘the military authorities and the presidential office are not in sync,’ spokesperson Jeon clarified, “They are in sync,” and explained, “Various forms of North Korean missile launch experiments are ongoing, and we are disclosing what we can from the information the military possesses.”
Lee Sung Joon, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Public Affairs Office, said, “We explained after the last incident (North Korean provocation), and said that we are analyzing it,” and “It is difficult to give additional comments on any matter because we did not mention the specific model.”