South Korea’s military has apologized after a failed missile launch during a joint drill with the United States sparked alarm among residents in the coastal city of Gangneung at 01:00 on Wednesday (16:00 GMT Tuesday).
South Korea residents reported hearing an explosion and seeing a fire overnight but the military, which has said there were no casualties, didn’t acknowledge the incident until seven hours later.
The missile launch was in response to North Korea firing a missile over Japan early on Tuesday, the first time Pyongyang flew a missile over Japan since 2017 .
The North Korean show of force prompted a show of force from the US, Japan and South Korea who conducted military drills. Seoul and Washington also fired a volley of missiles into the East Sea also known as the Sea of Japan – between the Korean peninsula and Japan.
The South Korean military later confirmed that one of their missiles failed soon after it was launched and crashed .
The military also said that the Hyunmoo-2 missile carried a warhead but that it did not explode, and apologised for causing worry.
North Korea’s missile launch on Tuesday was the fifth carried out by Pyongyang in a week. Many of its missile tests are conducted on a flight path that reaches a high altitude, avoiding flights over its neighbors.
In September, North Korea passed a law declaring itself to be a nuclear weapons state, with leader Kim Jong-un ruling out the possibility of talks on denuclearization