South Korea and the United States responded to North Korea's missile test on Tuesday by launching their own missiles at test targets.

But the South Korean launch of its own ballistic missile failed on Wednesday night.

The short-range Hyunmoo-2C missile immediately fell back to an air base near Gangneung on the country's east coast, where it started a fire.

Patrick Welter

Correspondent for business and politics in Japan based in Tokyo.

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The South Korean military did not report the incident until early Wednesday morning, which had caused concern and unrest among residents near the air force base.

The reasons for the false start are investigated.

The warhead was found about a kilometer from the starting point and only 700 meters from houses, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, citing military circles.

US aircraft carrier returns off Korea's east coast

More successfully, American and South Korean forces each fired two surface-to-surface missiles into the Sea of ​​Japan, which South Korea calls the East Sea, as a show of determination.

As a further response to the North Korean provocation, the American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan will be heading back into this sea, having only recently left the area.

The clear response from the allies underlines that the new conservative government of President Yoon Suk-yeol is reacting more decisively to the North Korean threat than the government of the left-liberal predecessor Moon Jae-in.

South Korea responded to North Korea's missile launch on Tuesday by launching two precision missiles.

At the same time, the American armed forces carried out exercises together with the Japanese ally.

For the first time since 2017, North Korea fired the missile over Japan into the Pacific on Tuesday.

At around 4600 kilometers, it was the longest distance that a North Korean missile had traveled.

For North Korea, it was the fifth weapons test in ten days.

The regime has fired more rockets this year than ever before.

North Korean state media on Wednesday did not report on Tuesday's missile launch.

The regime had already shown itself to be similarly covered during its missile tests in recent weeks.

Observers in South Korea speculate that Pyongyang has changed its strategy.

It used to be normal for North Korea to inform its own people about it in the state media the day after a missile test, thus demonstrating its military achievements both internally and externally.