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North Korea Accidentally Hit One of Its Own Cities With a Missile, Says Report

According to a report by The Diplomat, the incident happened on April 28, 2017 when the test launch of a single Hwasong-12/KN17 Intermediate-range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) from Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province went awry.

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Updated:January 5, 2018, 10:32 PM IST
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North Korea Accidentally Hit One of Its Own Cities With a Missile, Says Report
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New Delhi: A North Korean ballistic missile accidentally crashed into one of its own cities during a failed launch.

According to a report by The Diplomat, the incident happened on April 28, 2017 when the test launch of a single Hwasong-12/KN17 Intermediate-range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) from Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province went awry.

Shortly after launch, the missile hit Chongsin-dong area of Tokchon city, causing considerable damage to a complex of industrial or agricultural buildings.

The accident only became known after The Diplomat examined satellite data, corroborating it with photographs of the launch released by North Korea in July. North Korea is yet to respond.

A US government source told The Diplomat that the missile’s first stage engines failed after approximately one minute of powered flight, resulting in catastrophic failure. The missile did not fly higher than 70 km before crashing.

The April 28 test was the third attempted flight-test of the Hwasong-12, then a new missile. The first three tests were all failures. The missile finally recorded a successful launch on May 14. Hwasong-12, it would later emerge, was the fundamental building block for the Hwasong-14/KN20 intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) revealed later in the year.

However, despite the accident, North Korea introduced new test sites around the country through the course of the year, many near population centres including its capital Pyongyang. The potential for similar accidents occurring over Pyongyang, the country’s capital, or other populated regions remains high, especially with untested systems.
| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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