North Korea Accidentally Hits Its Own City During Missile Testing


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North Korea’s missile testing has earned one casualty and turned many buildings into ashes in the city of Tokchon. The missile test of Hwasong-12 ended in a disaster. The missile malfunctioned early during its flight and dropped in an industrial part of the city. The images taken from the satellite confirm that the buildings in that area were damaged by some explosion.

The Diplomat reported the incident yesterday and the impact location was given by a US government source to The Diplomat Senior Editor Ankit Panda. Panda and Dave Schmerler studied the open source information on the launch to locate the evidence on the ground for the missile explosion.

The Hwasong-12 is an intermediate range ballistic missile. The single-range liquid propellant missile can hit in a 2796-mile radius. This makes it capable to hit the USA in Guam or farthest tip of Alaska Aleutian island chain. The Hwasong-12 is incapable to hit Hawaii or mainland of the USA. However, the second version of Hwasong-12, Hwasong-14, can hit most of the USA.

According to The Diplomat, the Hwasong-12 was launched from the Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province. It was wheeled out from an underground hanger. After the launch, the missile managed to reach an altitude of 142000 feet and traveled around 24-miles to West before it crashed back to the Earth. Images taken from satellite confirm that one structure in Tokchon was completely destroyed whereas another one, a large greenhouse, sustained damage. There is no news about those casualties that might be occurred on the ground.

This is the first time that a case of North Korea’s missile testing caused damage on the ground. Security analyst from North Korea estimates that the country conducted around 20 ballistic missile tests in the past year. Among these 20, twelve tests were carried out on Hwasong-12.

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