Tuesday 28 May 2024 - 08:01

North Korea Says Rocket Carrying Satellite Exploded Mid-Flight

Story Code : 1138103
North Korea Says Rocket Carrying Satellite Exploded Mid-Flight
It came late on Monday after South Korea’s military reported the launch of an “unidentified projectile”, Al Jazeera reported.

“The launch of the new satellite carrier rocket failed when it exploded in mid-air during the flight of the first stage,” the deputy director general of North Korea’s National Aerospace Technology Administration said in a report carried by state media.

An initial analysis suggested that the cause was a newly developed liquid fuel rocket motor, but other possible causes were being investigated, the report said.

Officials in South Korea and Japan had said earlier that the launch appeared to have failed.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea fired an “unidentified projectile southwards” over the Yellow Sea and that several minutes afterwards many fragments were spotted in the sea.

In Japan, public broadcaster NHK reported a similar outcome.

A senior Japanese Ministry of Defense official told reporters: “The missile did not fly into the area that had been announced, and the situation is not as North Korea had intended. We are still analyzing whether it is a satellite or not,” Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported.

Japan had issued an emergency alert ordering evacuations in southern Okinawa prefecture before lifting the warning and saying the rocket was not expected to fly over Japanese territory.

The nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan spoke on the phone following the failed launch and strongly condemned the attempt, noting it was a direct violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions banning Pyongyang’s use of ballistic missile technology, and posed a serious threat to regional peace and security.

North Korea issued a notification of its launch plan earlier in the day, saying the window would last until June 4.

Nuclear-armed North Korea successfully launched its first spy satellite in November at its third attempt.

That launch came two months after Russian President Vladimir Putin met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in eastern Russia and promised technical assistance to Pyongyang. 

Kim said at the end of last year that Pyongyang would launch three more military spy satellites in 2024 as he continues a military modernization program that saw a record number of weapons tests in 2023.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said another satellite launch – North Korea’s fourth attempt – would “undermine regional and global peace and stability” while the South Korean military conducted attack formation flight and strike training to demonstrate “the strong capabilities and will of our military”.

Experts said spy satellites could improve Pyongyang’s intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly over South Korea, and provide crucial data in any military conflict.