United States revises assessment on North Korean missile launches

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting the test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14

The U.S. military's Pacific Command said it had detected three short-range ballistic missiles, all of which failed with one of them blowing up nearly immediately after launch.

Three North Korea short-range ballistic missiles failed on Saturday, U.S. military officials said, which, if true, would be a temporary setback to Pyongyangs rapid nuclear and missile expansion.

Earlier this month, North Korea said it was ready to send missiles towards the United States territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean following comments from President Donald Trump that if Pyongyang made any more threats they would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

The South Korean Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles were launched from the North's eastern Kangwon province and flew in a northeasterly direction about 250 km (155 miles) into the sea.

"Having said that, we're going to continue our peaceful pressure campaign, as I have described it, working with allies and working with China as well to see if we can bring the regime in Pyongyang to the negotiating table with a view to begin a dialogue on a different future on the Korean Peninsula and for North Korea", he said.

The Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises, which mainly involve computer simulations rather than battlefield maneuvers or fly-overs with bombers, are now taking place in South Korea.

US President Donald Trump warned North Korea this month it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States. It said earlier that the third missile appears to have blown up immediately.

The firings come after the United Nations agreed to impose costly economic sanctions on the country.

Heightening concerns about North Korea's aims, state media last week reported that leader Kim Jong Un visited the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defence Sciences and inspected designs for two new long-range missiles.

The United States and its "puppets" in South Korea should "act with discretion if they want to evade the historic moment of death", the statement said. All US and Russian ballistic missiles are solid-fuel models.

All three appeared to be short-range missiles, rather than the long-range types created to be able to strike the United States, and were launched from Kittaeryong on North Korea's east coast. Although the missile has not been operationally deployed yet, it is considered a key component to the so-called “kill chain” pre-emptive strike capability the South is pursuing to cope with the Norths growing nuclear and missile threat.

"In regards to activity in North Korea tonight, the president has been briefed and we are monitoring the situation", she said.

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