North Korea has launched five missile tests so far in 2017. The latest launch in mid-April, though assessed as a failure, came hours after North Korea rolled out intercontinental ballistic missiles and other military hardware at a big parade to celebrate the birthday of the country's late founder, Kim Il Sung, a grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un. The festivities took place amid concerns that North Korea is possibly preparing for its sixth nuclear test or a significant rocket launch, such as its first test flight of an ICBM. Let us see -briefly- some details about each of the five tests that have already occurred this year:
In February, North Korea successfully tested a land-based KN-15 missile, a new solid-fuel intermediate-range missile, which traveled 310 miles into the Sea of Japan. Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command labeled the launch as “a major advancement” by North Korea because it was "a new solid medium range ballistic missile off a new transporter erector launcher."
In early March, North Korea launched five medium-range Scud-type missiles. Shortly after this test occurred, the U.S. delivered the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to South Korea, a process which the U.S. started working on with its ally after the flurry of North Korean missile tests in 2016. THAAD is a missile defense shield designed to intercept short and medium range missiles.
Later in the month, North Korea tested a mobile-launched missile which exploded "within seconds of launch," according to U.S. Pacific Command. U.S. officials did not identify what type of missile was tested since it exploded so soon after launch.
On April 4, a KN-17 missile launch came just days before Chinese President Xi Jinping met with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago, during which the pair discussed how to curb North Korea's missile and nuclear programs. U.S. officials said the missile spun out of control and landed in the Sea of Japan after traveling 34 miles.
Less than two weeks later, North Korea launched another KN-17 that exploded shortly after launch.