Despite showing off a surprisingly large number of new weapons during a parade to celebrate the founding of its country on Saturday, North Korea’s attempt to launch a missile reportedly failed spectacularly on Sunday.
According to CNN, North Korea tried to launch what could have been a medium-range missile—nobody outside North Korea seems to know for sure what kind of weapon it was—but it reportedly blew up almost immediately after takeoff. According to Reuters, the missile flight only lasted 4-5 seconds before dramatically failing.
A U.S. defense official told CNN that he doesn’t think the missile had intercontinental capabilities and, therefore, couldn’t reach the U.S. mainland.
“The North doesn’t seem to be quite at the place to test an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile),” the official told CNN.
Tensions have risen dramatically between the U.S. and North Korea in the past week, starting when the U.S. moved warships close to the Korean peninsula after the U.S. strikes on a Syrian airbase, which caused North Korea to say it would increase its military defense. North Korea also threatened a nuclear attack if the U.S. showed aggression.
That led to tweets like this one from the president.
North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2017
Said North Korea Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol: “Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words. So that’s why [tensions are escalating]. It’s not [North Korea] but the U.S. and Trump that makes trouble.”
Some believed North Korea could attempt a nuclear test Saturday to help mark the country’s founding, leading many others to worry about Trump’s response. Instead, North Korea failed with its missile launch.
Said U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis in a statement: “The President and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The President has no further comment.”
On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted about his newfound friendship with China in regard to North Korea.
Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2017
Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday traveled to South Korea to discuss North Korea with the U.S. ally. A foreign policy adviser traveling with Pence told Reuters, “We had good intelligence before the launch and good intelligence after the launch. It’s a failed test. It follows another failed test. So really no need to reinforce their failure. We don’t need to expend any resources against that … It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when. The good news is that after five seconds it fizzled out.”