North Korea early Saturday, April 29, launched a medium ballistic missile. It failed, detonating in North air space seconds after launch, just like the first one that was sabotaged by the US on April 16. US President Donald Trump tweeted as soon as he was informed: “North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!”
He as apparently hinting that he would wait for China’s reaction before the US took action.
This missile was also the same as the first, a KN-17, a single-stage, short to medium range, liquid-fueled Scud or No Dong variant. It was test-fired Saturday as a deliberate act of defiance by Kim Jong-un in the face of Trump’s warning Thursday, “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict” over his expanding nuclear and missile capabilities. Hours earlier, on Friday, American, Chinese and Russian foreign ministers all stood up at the UN Security Council meeting in New York to demand that he give up his nuclear and missile programs.
State Department Secretary Rex Tillerson called for tough new action to punish Pyongyang.
The latest missile launch was not announced by Pyongyang. Nor was it fired from the usual base near the port city of Sinpo, but a site near the capital. US military sources estimated that the KN-17, most likely an upgraded Scud missile adapted for anti-ship warfare, was intended to support Kim’s threat to sink one of the US warships approaching Korean waters with two Japanese destroyers.
One of Tokyo’s major subways systems says it shut down all lines for 10 minutes early Saturday after receiving warning of a North Korean missile launch. Tokyo Metro official Hiroshi Takizawa says the temporary suspension affected 13,000 passengers.