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North Korean missile test fails amid international condemnation

North Korea's medium-range missile test conducted on Thursday has apparently failed. It would the second in the space of a week. The missile has now been tested eight times this year - but only once successfully.

The missile is believed to have been an intermediate-range Musudan - which has a theoretical range of between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometers (1,500 and 2,500 miles) and was launched from the western city of Kusong.

It reportedly exploded shortly after take-off at around 6:30 a.m. Pyongyang time (22:00 UTC Wednesday), although despite failing, some experts reportedly believe the missile is fast moving towards operational deployment.

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North Korean missile test fails

On the Washington radar

The attempt was timed to coincide with the third US presidential debate, with Pyongyang clearly signaling its intention to be high on the agenda of the next US president.

It also comes on the back of a meeting in Washington between the US and South Korean defense and foreign ministers, at which US Secretary of State John Kerry said any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be "met with an effective and overwhelming response."

Kerry added that there would be an "imminent deployment of a sophisticated US missile-defense system in South Korea to deter the growing threat from the North."

The previous Musudan test on Saturday was denounced by the UN Security Council, which is currently debating whether to impose new sanctions against Pyongyang over its fifth nuclear test carried out last month.

"We strongly condemn the North's continued illegal acts of provocation," the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, speaking before the missile launch, said North Korea was nearing the "final stage of nuclear weaponisation" and the allies would mobilise "all tools in the toolkit" to defend themselves.

jbh (Reuters, AFP)

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