North Korea’s dictatorship has long been known for brutalizing its own citizens while thumbing its nose at the world with its nuclear missile program.

But a new report shows the Kim Jong Un regime might have gone even further:

It may have brutalized its own citizens with a missile shot that went bad, and struck one of its own cities.

According the international magazine The Diplomat, a medium-range rocket fired from an airfield about 40 miles north of the capital of Pyonyang ended up hitting a building in Tokchon, a city of 200,000, about 50 miles from its launching site.

Citing an unnamed source in the United States government, The Diplomat reported that the missile’s engines failed about one minute into its flight, on April 28, 2017.

If the flight had finished successfully, the missile likely would have landed in the Sea of Japan, The Diplomat reported.

The Diplomat did not speculate about casualties on the ground.

“It’s impossible to verify if the incident caused any loss of life and, given the time of day the test occurred and the location of the impact, it may be likely that few, if any, casualties resulted from the incident,” the magazine reported.

However, there was considerable damage to an agricultural complex that was apparently struck by the errant missile.

“An image from Google earth of the complex show ground disturbances in an area that previously contained a building with fencing, also showing that a portion of the seasonal greenhouse had been damaged near the side of the complex where the debris fell,” The Diplomat reported.

Obviously, it’s bad enough that the North Korean government puts its own miserable population in danger with its slipshod approach to safety with deadly missiles.

But as The Diplomat points out, a similar problem with another missile could have much more far-reaching consequences:

“… (S)should a future North Korean missile overflying fail at the wrong moment during its powered flight phases, its trajectory may come to resemble an attack on Japan. Even with a dummy payload, an incident like that could spark a serious crisis in Northeast Asia. North Korea’s missile tests, which violate its obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions, come with no formal warning or notices to airmen, leaving regional states and the United States to their own devices in interpreting Pyongyang’s intentions once the engines are ignited.”

Interpreting the intentions of dictator Kim Jong Un and his regime is never easy, and it’s easy to envision the military forces of the United States and Japan assuming that a North Korean missile hitting Japan was the start of a military conflict initiated by the Pyongyang regime.

Considering the tensions between the United States and North Korea – despite a recent feeler by the Kim regime to the South Korean government – it’s entirely possible that could lead to an overwhelming attack by the United States and its allies.

And if that happens, Kim Jong Un is going to realize that his mistake wasn’t in having a rocket that failed – it was in challenging the world’s only superpower in the first place.

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