FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims North Korea ‘Accidentally Nuked’ One Of Its Cities In 2017

Jonathan Fonti | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims North Korea accidentally hit one of its own cities with a nuclear warhead during a 2017 failed missile test.

“North Korea accidentally nuked one of its own cities during a failed missile test in 2017,” reads the post.

Verdict: False

The Daily Caller found no record of North Korea accidentally hitting one of its cities with a nuclear warhead. A missile did crash in a North Korean city during a 2017 flight test but, per U.S. officials, it was non-nuclear.

Fact Check:

The image, posted by UberFacts on Feb. 17, likely references an April 2017 missile test conducted by North Korea, though the post appears to get details of that failed flight test wrong. (RELATED: Did North Korea Test Missiles Every 24 Days Under Obama?)

North Korea conducted a flight test of a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) on April 28, 2017, The Diplomat reported. It flew approximately 24 miles before crashing into a complex of industrial and agricultural buildings in Tokchon, a city north of the capital city of Pyongyang, according to the magazine.

If the country had “accidentally nuked” one of its own cities, it would have been picked up by the media, yet no news outlets reported the missile had a nuclear payload. U.S. officials actually told NBC News that the ballistic missile was non-nuclear, according to CNBC.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies reports that North Korea has launched six Hwasong-12 IRBMs since April 2017. Three tests involved missiles capable of delivering a payload of at least 500 kilograms (1,102.31 pounds) a distance of at least 300 kilometers (186.4 miles), per the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies database.

Jonathan Fonti

Fact Check Reporter
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