South Korean military apologises after failed missile launch alarmed citizens

South Korea’s military apologised for a failed missile launch amid its joined drill with the United States in response to North Korea. According to reports, the missile launched during the drill malfunctioned and crashed causing alarm among nearby residents who thought they were under attack from North Korea. 

The incident took place on Tuesday when the live-fire drill which included South Korea and the US was supposed to show strength among the allies against North Korea which had launched a test missile over Japan, earlier that day. 

However, a South Korean short-range Hyumoo-2 ballistic missile crashed to the ground inside the air base in the country’s coastal city of Gangneung and although the missile did not explode it caused quite a scare among the nearby residents who reportedly thought North Korea had launched an attack. 

South Korea’s military acknowledged the attack hours later as social media users posted videos of orange flames emerging from a nearby area they described as the Gangneung air force base. “Many frantic residents called the city hall,” an official at the Gangneung City Hall told AFP. 

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According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, there were no reported casualties and an investigation is underway to determine what caused the “abnormal flight” of the missile. This incident took place when South Korea and the US fired a volley of missiles into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan. 

This comes after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in 5 years. According to reports, North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile which flew a record distance of 4,600 km and at an altitude of 1,000 km, which also puts the US Pacific territory of Guam in striking distance. 

The missile also reportedly landed 3,200 km east of Japan in the Pacific Ocean, which led the Japanese government to issue an alert for the citizens in Hokkaido and Aomori urging them to take cover as the ballistic missile passed high over the two regions. On Tuesday, the US and South Korean fighter jets also carried out bombing drills at the target in the Yellow sea. 

(With inputs from agencies) 



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