By Chris Perez
North Korea launched a missile capable of reaching US military bases as far away as Guam on Wednesday night asAmericans were fixated on the final presidential debate.
The trigger-happy nation fired off the rocket from the northwestern city of Kusong — though analysis by South Korean and US officials suggests that it exploded shortly after takeoff at around 6 p.m. ET.
Several hours later, the US Strategic Command reported that it had detected a failed attempt by North Korea to launch an intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, which can travel up to 2,500 miles — meaning it could reach parts of Japan and Guam.
Officials insisted, though, that the missile posed no threat to North America whatsoever.
The unsuccessful test comes just days after North Korea failed to launch another Musudan missile near Kusong, the seventh attempt this year. That rocket also detonated immediately after launch.
On Monday, a top North Korean official warned that the isolated nation was ready to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the US, if necessary.
“The US has nuclear weapons off our coast, targeting our country, our capital and our dear leader, Kim Jong Un,” Lee Yong Pil, director of the Foreign Ministry’s Institute for American Studies, told NBC News.
“We will not step back as long as there’s a nuclear threat to us from the United States,” he said, insisting that the US does not have a “monopoly” on pre-emptive nuclear strikes.
“If we see that the US would do it to us, we would do it first,” Lee seethed. “We have the technology.”
North Korea has already launched more than 20 ballistic missiles this year as it attempts to boost its delivery system, according to officials.
“Our military strongly condemns North Korea’s continued illegal provocative actions and are fully prepared for the possibilities of further provocation,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement Thursday night.
With Post wires