North Korea hit its own city in missile launch blunder

A new report reveals a missile fired by North Korean military last year actually hit one of the nation's own cities.

According to Asia-Pacific news agency The Diplomat, a Hwasong-12/KN17 intermediate-range ballistic missile had a "catastrophic failure" shortly after take-off, which caused the destruction.

The projectile landed on the northern city of Tokchon, causing major damage to a cluster of industrial and farming buildings. It is not known whether the mistake caused any deaths.

A US government official told The Diplomat the missile's first-stage engines refused to start up after a minute of flight on April 28, causing the missile to fall to the ground and blow up the buildings.

It is thought that the risk of a missile failure is why the two other tests that month were fired from the coastal township of Sinpo, rather than Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province.

The Diplomat reports that the chance of a similar incident occurring remains high, especially as North Korea continues to trial untested missiles in areas close to populated cities.