Jiji Press SEOUL (Jiji Press) — North Korea fired a missile on Wednesday morning, but the launch apparently failed, officials of South Korea’s National Defense Ministry said.
The missile was launched from a site near an airfield in the eastern North Korean city of Wonsan, which faces the Sea of Japan, according to the officials.
The U.S. and South Korean militaries are working to identify the missile type and the cause of the launch failure.
In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that there have been no circumstances that directly affect Japan’s security.
On Sunday, the North Korean media reported that Kim Jong Un, the country’s leader, had viewed a ground combustion test of a new-type rocket engine, quoting him as saying that the world would “soon witness” the significance of the successful rocket test.
The South Korean ministry believes that the North has made significant progress in improving the performance of its rocket engines.
On March 6, the isolated country simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the same day that the four missiles fell into waters about 300-350 kilometers west of the Oga Peninsula in Akita Prefecture and that three of them are believed to have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Three days later, Suga said at a press conference that one of the four missiles may have fallen into Sea of Japan waters about 200 kilometers north of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, hinting that it landed at a point closer to Japan’s mainland than any other missiles launched by North Korea ever.
Date set for rare assembly
North Korea will hold the fifth session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly in Pyongyang on April 11, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday.
The upcoming meeting will follow the fourth session of the 13th assembly held on June 29 last year.
At the fourth session, North Korea revised its constitution and transformed the National Defense Commission, the country’s top authority, to the State Affairs Commission.
At the same time, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, became chairman of the SAC, assuming the top party and state posts.
According to a report by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, North Korea may announce a replacement for Kim Won Hong, who is believed to have been dismissed as minister of state security in January, at the coming assembly session.