WASHINGTON - In spite of the apparent failure of another North Korean missile test at the weekend, the country's aggressive testing schedule could see its Musudan intermediate ballistic missile entering operational service sometime next year - much sooner than expected, a leading US expert said on Monday.
The US military said on Saturday it had detected a failed launch of a Musudan, the latest in a series in violation of United Nations resolutions.
The US Strategic Command said the missile failed in a launch near North Korea's northwestern city of Kusong. South Korea's military said the missile failed immediately after launch, but neither it nor the Pentagon suggested reasons.
The Musudan has range of some 3,000 km (1,860 miles), posing a threat to South Korea and Japan, and possibly the US territory of Guam. Pyongyang claims that it has succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on a missile, but this has never been independently verified.