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N. Korea Silent After Reported Missile Explosion Over Pyongyang

Cell phones have proliferated in North Korea in recent years, but the government retains tight control of networks
A North Korean flag flutters on top of a 160-metre tower in North Korea's propaganda village of Gijungdong, in this picture taken from the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/ File Photo
A North Korean flag flutters on top of a 160-metre tower in North Korea’s propaganda village of Gijungdong, in this picture taken from the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/ File Photo

More than 24 hours after a missile test reportedly ended in a fiery failure over Pyongyang on Wednesday, North Korea had yet to say anything about the incident.

South Korea said a presumed ballistic missile exploded mid-air shortly after it was launched from the international airport near Pyongyang on Wednesday morning.

North Korea’s government did not immediately comment on the South’s report, and state media had made no mention of a test a day later.

Strikingly, no photos or named eye witnesses had emerged publicly, despite the missile exploding over a city of around three million people.

Human rights activists said the silence underscored the complete control the government wields over communication in the country.

“We shouldn’t become numb to how ridiculous and outrageous that is just because its North Korea,” Sokeel Park, of Liberty in NK, which helps North Korean defectors, said on Twitter.

Debris fell in or near Pyongyang after the failed test, Seoul-based NK News reported, citing unnamed witnesses and a photograph it said it had seen of the test showing a red-tinted ball of smoke at the end of a zig-zagging plume that traced the rocket’s launch trajectory in the sky above the city.

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