Simon Osborn — The Express April 16, 2017
The US Pacific Command said the North Korean missile “blew up almost immediately” on its test launch which came a day after a grand military parade to show off what appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles.
And former Conservative cabinet member Sir Malcolm Rifkind said it was possible the missile’s operating system had been sabotaged by a US cyber attack.
Sir Malcolm told the BBC: “It could have failed because the system is not competent enough to make it work.
“But there is a very strong belief that the US through cyber methods has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail.
“But don’t get too excited by that, they’ve also had quite a lot of successful tests.
“They are an advanced country when it comes to their nuclear weapons programme. That still remains a fact – a hard fact.”
The failed launch appeared to defuse some of the rising tensions in the region with US military officials saying the botched test of what was believed to be a medium-range missile had come as no surprise.
The official said: “It’s a failed test. It follows another failed test. So really no need to reinforce their failure. We don’t need to expend any resources against that.”
He said the missile’s flight lasted no more than four or five seconds before it crashed into the sea.
“It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when. The good news is that after five seconds it fizzled out.”
North Korea launched a ballistic missile from the same region earlier this month ahead of a summit between the US and China to discuss Pyongyang’s arms programme.
But that missile, which US officials said appeared to be a liquid-fuelled extended-range Scud, only flew about 40 miles – a fraction of its range – before spinning out of control.
Tensions had escalated sharply amid concern the North may conduct a sixth nuclear test or a ballistic missile test launch around Saturday’s 105th birth anniversary of founding father Kim Il Sung that it calls the “Day of the Sun”.
The White House has said President Donald Trump has put North Korea “on notice”.