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What Caused the North Korean Missile to Explode?

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north korea missile

On Friday morning, April 13th, North Korea launched a multistage rocket under the premise that its mission was to establish an “Earth observation satellite” into orbit.

The rocket launched at approximately 7:39 a.m. local time from the northwest corner of North Korea. The direction of the launch took the missile on a path over Japan’s Ryukyu Islands.

Approximately 80 seconds after the launch, as the second stage kicked, the missile exploded into two parts. The first part, according to South Korea, split into about 10 pieces which fell into the water Southwest of Seoul. The second part split into three pieces that landed just west of Gunsan.

U.S. officials did not wait to both ridicule North Korea’s attempt to launch a rocket, as well as call it a, “provocative action” that “threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments.” (1)

However, the specific reason for the failure remains unknown, and with the U.S. preparing for the launch by maneuvering its massive seaborne radar system as well as nearly half a dozen anti-missile ships into the area, and with Japan setting up Patriot anti-missile batteries in preparation of the North Korean launch (2) – there is a question as to whether or not the failure was actually caused by something other than the missile itself.




The Build-up to North Korea’s Missile Launch

According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials reported there were plenty of “Naval assets” in the region that were prepared to monitor and track the rocket once it launched.

After the missile exploded, U.S. officials moved into action, making comments to the media like, “The North Koreans are now zero for three,” and one U.S. official telling the Wall Street Journal, “They’re not moving forward. If anything they’re stuck in place or moved backwards.”

While the launch represented a serious threat for the region, if North Korea could demonstrate its ability to produce and successfully test a long-range missile. That, in combination with nuclear capabilities, could deepen the threat that countries like Japan and the Philippines already face from North Korea.

The development of a missile and the expansion of North Korea’s military also indicates to the U.S. and other Western countries that the North Korean government is likely diverting aid money meant for the North Korean people into military programs instead.

north korea missile

Talk of a Shoot-Down

Leading Up to the Launch, there was plenty of talk that the missile would be shot down.

Michael Auslin of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, told reporters that the best way to deal with this latest launch should be a shoot-down.

“Shooting down the missile is a proportionate, limited and clearly defensible action. It is neither aggressive nor provocative. It can be justified with reference to U.N. resolutions and long-standing self-defense pacts with Asian allies.” (3)

Apparently when Japan deployed the missile interceptors to various locations, Japan’s defense minister made it very clear that the intent was to intercept the rocket to prevent it from falling onto Japanese soil. (4)

While U.S. officials never outright said they would shoot down the missile upon launch, Japan made it very clear that it would take down the missile. According to the Atlantic Sentinel, Japan “pledged to shoot down any future North Korean missile tests that violated its airspace.”

For its part, North Korea also pledge full-scale war if the missile was shot down.

It is still unclear whether the missile truly failed in-flight, or due to outside influences, however what seems very clear at the moment is that no one – including North Korea – is making any direct indications about why the missile failed upon entering its second stage of flight.


References & Image Credits:
(1) Wall Street Journal
(2) CBS News
(3) DoD Buzz
(4) Seamus O’Riley

Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com

  • Rbwpenn

    The lack of any mention in the mainstream media that the missile may have been shot down by U.S. or its regional allies, or even China, seems to me to be a glaring omission. We’ve poured billions of dollars into ‘Star Wars’ research and development, and have supposedly fielded airborne high-powered microwave energy weapons. This type of weapon could fry the electronics on a missile without leaving any trace.

  • Sgt.Pineapple

    I say china did it!

  • just saying

    Also, the next missile test the North Koreans did was successful, and they did this secretly, which didn’t allow the West to shoot it down (if the first one was).

    Last, this one is definitely speculative, but the GPS satellite launch from Russia that exploded seemed odd. It was one of their last satellites needed to complete their own GPS system. After it exploded they launched the largest military war games exercise in some time. Seemed very oddly timed.

  • andy smith

    Harrp ?

“The thing about the truth is, not a lot of people can handle it.” -Conor McGregor

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