North Korea's test of a long-range ballistic missile in early July turned out to have failed, South Korea's military announced Saturday (Sept. 16), implying a serious problem in the North's long-range missile capability.
"The long-range Taepodong-2 crashed into a beach on the east coast about 2 kilometers from the launching site after traveling normally for 40 seconds," the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) told reporters. The Taepodong-2 was believed capable of reaching the U.S. west coast at the time of its launch on July 5.
The JCS said the missile broke up mid-flight because of a "serious technical disorder."
The announcement was based on the JCS's two-month-long analyses of various intelligence reports on North Korea's launching of seven ballistic missiles, including the long-range one.
The latest conclusion by the JCS also confirmed the conclusions drawn by the United States and Japan, both of which already believed the missile launch was a failure.
A day after the missiles were tested, a senior official of the JCS said the Taepodong-2 flew 490 kilometers in almost 7 minutes.
"The initial analysis was based on limited intelligence reports, but we could draw this conclusion after intensively analyzing all available intelligence reports by various sources," a JCS spokesman said.
But the other six missiles landed on targets 400 kilometers away from the launch spot on the East Sea.
North Korea's foreign ministry claimed the launches were successful, describing them as part of its routine military exercises to increase its self-defensive military capacity. But the action irritated its allies China and Russia, prompting them to help the U.N. Security Council unanimously pass a resolution condemning such tests.