The launch caused alarm among residents in the coastal city of Gangneung. They reported that they heard an explosion and seeing a fire overnight. However, the military that revealed there were no casualties, hadn’t acknowledged the incident until seven hours later.
The launch came as a response to North Korea firing a missile over Japan early on Tuesday. Since 2017, this is the first time Pyongyang has fired a missile over Japan, prompting a show of force from the US, Japan and South Korea.
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 revealed that the missile launch that crashed was separate from the one launched with the United States.
The military also said that the Hyunmoo-2 missile carried a warhead but that it did not explode, and apologised for causing worry.
“I can’t sleep because I feel anxious [after hearing] the explosion,” said one user, according to news site Kang Won Ilbo.
Another resident thought a plane had crashed. The North Korean missile launch on Tuesday is the 5th to be launched by Pyongyang in a period of a week.
Many of its missile tests are conducted on a flight path that reaches a high altitude, avoiding flights over its neighbours.
In September, North Korea passed a law declaring itself to be a nuclear weapons state, with leader Kim Jong-un. He ruled out the possibility of talks on denuclearisation.
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