Satellite images suggest that the secretive regime may have accidentally struck one of its own cities while completing a missile launch test. The Hwasong KN-17 medium-range rocket that is believed to be responsible for the damage failed shortly after launch and apparently struck a building in a town approximately 25 miles away.
According to a US official, as reported by the Daily Mail, the missile, which was tested on April 28, hit Tokchon, a city with a population near 200,000. The rocket was fired from Pukchang Airfield, located in the South Pyongan Province, around 25 miles from Tokchon and 40 miles from Pyongyang.
Reports suggest the failed missile damaged an agricultural or industrial building based on the satellite images, which are available through Google Earth, as damage can be seen in the one taken on May 18 of last year.
The official stated that the rocket flew approximately one minute before an engine malfunction had it plummeting toward Earth. It had traveled around 25 miles toward the northeast before crashed.
No deaths were reported in connection with the failed missile launch, though the area is heavily populated.
In November, North Korea tested what appeared to be its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) ever, which the regime claims is capable of striking anywhere in the US. A mobile launch platform was also constructed.
The Hwasong-15 ICBM was fired eastward from Pyongsong, flew for approximately 50 minutes, and reached 2,800 miles of altitude, before coming down in the Sea of Japan. The rocket’s journey reached lengths of around 620 miles.
Tensions between the North Korea and the US have remained high, though Kim Jong Un did just reopen a line of communication between himself and South Korean officials.
That decision came just hours after President Donald Trump sent out a tweet, appearing to mock the North Korean leader, claiming that his nuclear button was “bigger and more powerful” than Kim’s.