North Korea has fired what appears to be a ballistic missile from a submarine toward the sea, but the projectile sputtered and fell into the ocean after only a few minutes, the South's Yonhap News Agency reported, quoting the South Korean military.
On Sunday, North Korea claimed that it had successfully conducted the missile test. However the missile flew only 19 miles, a flight too short to be called a successful launch. A South Korean government source said the missile's engine ignited after it was fired from a 2,000-ton Sinpo-class submarine but that it only traveled a short distance, Yonhap reported.
It was also reported that China has sent 2,000 troops to the North Korea border right before the test. The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy had earlier stated the same but a spokesperson for China's Defense Ministry has denied this saying that, "The Chinese military maintains normal combat readiness and training on the China-North Korea border."
North Korea first attempted a launch of the submarine-based missile last year and was thought to be in the early stages of developing such a weapons system, which could pose a new threat to its neighbors and the United States if it is perfected.
The state released photographs of their leader Kim Jong-un surrounded by flunkies at the testing of a new multiple launch rocket system. Kim was cheered on by military figures on site at at the Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station No. 3 in Ryanggang Province.
North Korea has so far conducted four nuclear tests — the first one in October 2006 and the latest in January this year.
North Korea is banned from nuclear tests and activities that use ballistic missile technology under U.N. sanctions dating to 2006 but it has pushed ahead with work to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and develop an intercontinental ballistic missile.