SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean ballistic missile malfunctioned and fell to land early Wednesday during a joint live ammunition exercise with the United States, causing panic among residents of a coastal city. who were already nervous about North Korea’s weapons tests.
The sound of the explosion and subsequent fire led many residents of the coastal city of Gangneung to believe it was a North Korean attack, a concern heightened after the government and military took hours to explain what had happened.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said no one was injured in the accident, which involved an intermediate-range Hyumoo-2 missile that fell inside an air force base outside the city.RELATED
The military said that the causes of the “abnormal flight” of the missile, which is a fundamental weapon in South Korea’s preventive and response strategies against Pyongyang, are already being investigated.
The military said the test was aimed at a display of power by South Korea and the United States, after North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Tuesday that passed over Japan, in which meant his most provocative arms test in several years.
The South Korean military acknowledged the damage hours after internet users reported the blast and posted videos showing a ball of flames emerging from an area they said was near an air force base.
The Gangneung Fire Department and the city council said emergency crews were dispatched to the air force base and an army base in response to reports of a possible explosion, but military officials sent rescuers back.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the exercises with the United States involved the launch of four Army Tactical Missile System projectiles and another Hyumoo-2 missile that flew successfully.
Hours earlier on Tuesday, allied warplanes fired weapons at a target off South Korea’s western coast.
North Korea has fired nearly 40 ballistic missiles during its nearly 20 tests this year, taking advantage of Russia’s war in Ukraine and deep division within the United Nations Security Council to accelerate weapons development.
The United States, Britain, France, Albania, Norway and Ireland have called an emergency Security Council meeting to discuss North Korea’s latest launch. Diplomats indicated that it is possible that the meeting will take place on Wednesday, but they do not know if it will be open or closed.
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