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S/Korea military apologises after failed missile launch

South Korea’s military has apologised after a failed missile launch during a joint drill with the United States sparked alarm among residents in the coastal city of Gangneung.

BBC reports residents as saying they heard an explosion and saw a fire overnight.

But the military, which has said there were no casualties, did not acknowledge the incident until seven hours later.

The launch was in response to North Korea firing a missile over Japan early on Tuesday.

This is the first time Pyongyang has flown a missile over Japan since 2017 and it prompted a show of force from the US, Japan and South Korea which conducted military drills.

Seoul and Washington also fired a volley of missiles into the East Sea – also known as the Sea of Japan between the Korean peninsula and Japan.

The South Korean military later confirmed that one of their missiles failed soon after it was launched and crashed – this was separate from the ones launched by the US.

The military also said that the Hyunmoo-2 missile carried a warhead but that it did not explode, and apologised for causing worry.

Residents in Gangneung said they saw a bright flash and heard an explosion at around 01:00 on Wednesday (16:00 GMT Tuesday).

They were left in the dark for hours, and many of them posted on social media wondering what had happened while sharing photos and videos of the incident. The footage showed what appeared to be a brightly burning fire, with smoke rising from a distance.

Writing by Omotola Oguneye; Editing by Tony Okerafor