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US: North Korea Missile Launch Fails

FILE - In this July 29, 2017 file photo, a man walks in front of a public TV screen broadcasting news of North Korea's test-firing of its second intercontinental ballistic missile, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)
FILE - In this July 29, 2017 file photo, a man walks in front of a public TV screen broadcasting news of North Korea's test-firing of its second intercontinental ballistic missile, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

SEOUL, South Korea -- Three North Korea short range ballistic missiles failed on Saturday in the North's latest weapons test amid a rapid expansion of its nuclear weapons and missile program, U.S. military officials said Saturday

The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement that two of the North's missiles failed in flight. Another appeared to have blown up immediately.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff, however, said that that the projectiles fired from the North's eastern coast flew about 250 kilometers (155 miles). The JCS said South Korea and U.S. militaries were analyzing the launch and didn't immediately provide more details.

These are the first known launches since July, when the country successfully flight tested a pair of intercontinental ballistic missiles that analysts say could reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

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The rival Koreas recently saw their always testy relationship get worse after Pyongyang and U.S. President Donald Trump traded warlike threats. Trump warned that he would unleash "fire and fury" if the North continued its threats.

The latest launch comes during an annual joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea that the North condemns as an invasion rehearsal, and weeks after Pyongyang threatened to lob missiles toward the Pacific U.S. territory of Guam.

North Korea's state media earlier on Saturday said that leader Kim Jong Un inspected a special operation forces training of the country's army that simulated attacks on South Korean islands along the countries' western sea border in what appeared to be in response to the ongoing U.S.-South Korea war games.

Kim reportedly told his troops that they "should think of mercilessly wiping out the enemy with arms only and occupying Seoul at one go and the southern half of Korea."

The Korean Central News Agency said that the "target striking contest" involved war planes, multiple-rocket launchers and self-propelled guns that attacked targets meant to represent South Korea's Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands before special operation combatants "landed by surprise" on rubber boats.

The border islands have occasionally seen military skirmishes between the rivals, including a North Korean artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong in 2010 that left two South Korean marines and two civilians dead.

This article was written by Kim Tong-Hyung from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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