North Korea’s attempt to launch its first military spy satellite failed after the missile “fell into the sea”.
State media said the launch, the first day of a 12-day window announced by the company to put the satellite into orbit, took place early Wednesday.
The newly launched Cheollima-1 satellite carrier rocket crashed into the West Sea of Korea as it lost momentum due to abnormal operation of the two-stage engine after separating a stage during normal flight.
Earlier, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected the launch from the south of “Tongchang County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea, at approximately 6:29 am.” [21:29 GMT on Tuesday] “.
An air raid siren sounded in the South Korean capital, Seoul, three minutes later, as the city used public loudspeakers and smartphones to warn citizens to prepare for possible evacuation. Subsequent alerts said the city’s warning was sent in error.
The Japanese government also issued an emergency broadcast system J-Alert to residents of the southern prefecture of Okinawa early Wednesday morning, advising residents to hide indoors if outdoors.
He later said the missile would not fly over Japanese territory and rescinded the warnings.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile disappeared from radar early on and may have broken up in mid-air or crashed.
The North Korean missile disappeared from radar before reaching its intended landing site, Yonhap news agency said, adding that the military was studying the possibility of it “exploding in mid-air or falling”.
On Tuesday, Pyongyang announced plans to launch its first military spy satellite between May 31 and June 11.
North Korea said in statements provided to international authorities that the launch would carry the missile south in different stages, and more debris is expected to fall over the Yellow Sea and into the Pacific Ocean.
North Korea’s satellite launch is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions that ban the country from using ballistic missile technology. The plan has been criticized by South Korea, Japan and the United States.
“SLVs include technologies that are identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles, including ICBMs,” said a US State Department spokesperson after Pyongyang announced its launch window.
Nuclear-armed North Korea has rapidly modernized and expanded its weapons in defiance of United Nations sanctions and conducted a record number of tests in 2022.
She says her activities are necessary for self-defense.
“Pyongyang is concerned that South Korea will successfully deepen trilateral security cooperation with Japan and the United States,” Leif Eric Easley, an associate professor of international studies at Ewha University for Women in Seoul, said in emailed comments.
“Given the apparent ability of the Nuri missile from South Korea to send satellites into orbit, it is likely that the Kim regime will see itself in a space race.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said earlier this month that the successful launch of a military reconnaissance satellite was an “urgent requirement of the prevailing security environment in the country.”
South Korea successfully launched a commercial satellite for the first time using a Nuri rocket, a home-made space rocket, last week.