(Reuters) – SEOUL, March 17 , North Korea has remained silent for more than 24 hours after a missile test apparently ended in a fiery failure over Pyongyang on Wednesday.
South Korea reported a suspected ballistic missile detonated in mid-flight shortly after being fired from Pyongyang’s international airport on Wednesday morning. find out more
The North Korean government did not respond quickly to the South’s report, and state media made no mention of a test the next day.
Despite the rocket exploding above a city of over three million people, no images or named eye witnesses have surfaced publicly.
The quiet, according to human rights activists, demonstrates the government’s full control over communication in the country.
“We shouldn’t get immune to how ludicrous and terrible that is just because it’s North Korea,” Liberty in NK’s Sokeel Park, who assists North Korean defectors, said on Twitter.
According to Seoul-based NK News, debris fell in or near Pyongyang after the failed test, citing unnamed witnesses and a photograph it claimed to have seen of the test, which showed 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.
“Imagine our newsfeeds if it was London, Istanbul, or Seoul,” Park added, “packed with video, photographs, and eyewitness stories.” “However, because it happened in Pyongyang, there isn’t a SINGLE public image or video. In 2022, there will be a complete visual blackout for a massive explosion in the sky above an Asian major.”
Although cell phones have become more common in North Korea in recent years, the government nevertheless maintains strict control over phone networks and internet connections, the majority of which are not connected to the rest of the world.
The country’s isolation has worsened as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, with border controls cutting off most cross-border travel and communication with China, as well as causing many foreign embassies and international relief organisations to withdraw their workers.