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(LEAD) N. Korea fires 2nd Musudan missile, but launch presumed to have failed again: military

All News 23:49 April 28, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in last four paras, minor edits throughout)

SEOUL, April 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired off a second Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) after its failed first attempt on Thursday, but this latest launch also seems to have ended in failure, South Korea's military said.

"North Korea fired off what appears to be another Musudan missile at about 7:26 p.m. in Wonsan, Kangwon Province," the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. It said this missile likely blew up in midflight.

Earlier in the day, the North launched the same type of missile from the vicinity of Wonsan but it is known to have crashed a few seconds later.

The second attempt on the same day marks the third time that Pyongyang has tested a Musudan, or BM-25, missile in less than two weeks. The first time it tested the missile was on April 15, with experts claiming that launch ended in "catastrophic failure."

The three most recent launches are the country's first-ever test-firings of these longer range missiles. The back-to-back failures highlight the unreliability of the communist country's untested IRBM capability.

With a targeted range of 3,000-4,000 kilometers, the missiles are designed to reach as far as Guam, where a large contingent of United States military forces are stationed. Pyongyang presumably wants to arm these missiles with nuclear warheads they may be developing.

The reclusive country is believed to have deployed some 50 Musudan missiles since 2007.

North Korea experts said the country apparently wanted to celebrate its rare ruling party congress set for early May with the successful launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile, but now has egg on its face with these three successive failures.

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