US Revises Statement That North Korean Missile Launch Failed

U.S. Pacific Command says North Korea launched three missiles. Two​ flew about 250 kilometers and one exploded shortly after launch.
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US Revises Statement That North Korean Missile Launch Failed

The U.S. says two missiles launched by North Korea on Friday that were originally believed to have failed in flight were actually successful.

The U.S. Pacific Command initially reported North Korea launched three ballistic missiles Friday around noon Hawaii time and that two of them failed after launch. A revised statement said two of the missiles flew "approximately 250 kilometers in a northeastern direction."

Pacific Command believes a third blew up almost immediately after launch.

The revised statement more closely supports recent successes in North Korea's missile capability, which The New York Times said might be tied to new, powerful rocket engines.

U.S. officials say the missiles did not pose a threat to the U.S. territory Guam, which North Korea threatened in early August. 

The timing of the launches isn't entirely unexpected — it comes just as the U.S. and South Korea kick off annual joint military exercises. Those exercises perpetually irk North Korea, which views them as preparation for an invasion.

Starting Tuesday, the Japanese military will temporarily deploy several Patriot missile batteries to U.S. military bases in Japan as practice ahead of possible North Korean attacks.