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China's semi-official Global Times newspaper criticized an ongoing "game of chicken" between North Korea and Washington but also knocked Pyongyang's tech talents.
Early Saturday, the reclusive communist nation launched yet another missile, presumably in a new display of force amid a verbal war of words with President Donald Trump. However, the missile exploded seconds after liftoff, and officials said the failed test involved a short-range, non-nuclear missile able to hit Seoul but not Japan.
"The test's failure shows that the country's missile technology is not mature, and that the missile-launching vehicle paraded on the Day of the Sun not long ago may have only been a mock-up," the English-language Chinese publication said in a commentary.
Moreover, it contends North Korea's missile tests are not just for research and development purposes but part of "an outdated confrontational mentality" demonstrated by the hermit regime.
"Missile tests are North Korea's way of expressing its dissatisfaction, and the most recent test is a typical example," the paper said. "Pyongyang also attempts to use missile tests to boost North Korean public morale, and they're often held during the country's key anniversaries."
North Korea launched a ballistic missile early Saturday local time in the vicinity of Pukchang airfield, the U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement. South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported the missile apparently exploded soon after liftoff.
The Chinese paper noted Pyongyang attempted missile tests that had failed previously, and suggested the North's intercontinental ballistic missile threat to the U.S. was not immediate.
"If North Korea's test continue to fail, this will not enhance its deterrence, and may instead cause contempt from the U.S., Japan and South Korea. Washington would think Pyongyang is far from possessing missiles that could reach U.S. soil."
At the same time, the paper said "both Washington and Pyongyang are playing a game of chicken, and their moves and messages are difficult to interpret."
The publication also called on Beijing to "require the U.S. to ease its military threat against Pyongyang and show that it's willing to peacefully resolve the Korean Peninsula issue, and not threaten the survival of Pyongyang's regime."