North Korean missile broke up shortly after launch, US official says

U.S. Pacific Command said that it was "aware of the event."

ByABC News
April 28, 2017, 7:40 PM

— -- North Korea fired a ballistic missile that broke up shortly after its launch, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News Friday.

The missile, fired from an area known as Pukchang in central North Korea, traveled 21 miles before breaking up in mid-air, the official said. Early indications are this was a single-stage liquid-fueled mobile-launched missile the U.S. is calling the KN-17, the official said.

The KN-17 missile is a new type of missile that has been test-fired twice before. On April 15, one exploded shortly after launch from Sinpo, North Korea. The other missile fired on April 4 flew about 34 miles before spinning out of control into the Sea of Japan.

Cmdr. David Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said in a statement that the missile "did not leave North Korean territory" and that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) had determined the missile "did not pose a threat to North America."

"U.S. Pacific Command stands behind our steadfast commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan," the statement continued.

President Donald Trump criticized the rogue Asian nation on Twitter shortly afterward, while also invoking Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom he discussed the North Korean threat during a summit earlier in the month.

"North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!" wrote Trump.

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