North Korean Rocket Carrying Country’s Second Spy Satellite Exploded Seconds After Launch Yesterday

The rocket blew up shortly after liftoff due to a suspected engine problem; spy satellite launches by North Korea are banned by the United Nations.

(Kalma, North Korea) A rocket launched by North Korea to deploy the country’s second spy satellite exploded shortly after liftoff yesterday (May 27th) near Kalma, which is located on the country’s east coast, according to North Korean state media.

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Photo of nuclear-armed North Korea successfully launching its first spy satellite in November, a move that drew international condemnation, courtesy of KCNA via Reuters; shared by Al Jazeera.

“South Korea and the US are aware of the missile launch and to their knowledge North Korea’s missile was not successfully launched,” South Korea’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement, according to CNN World.

Notably, the United Nations bans North Korea from conducting spy satellite launches, viewing them as covers for testing long-range missile technology, according to ABC News.

Per ABC News, the rocket launch was part of leader Kim Jon Un’s hopes to operate multiple satellites to better monitor the United States and South Korea.

Monday’s failed launch came hours after leaders of South Korea, China and Japan met in Seoul in their first trilateral meeting in more than four years; it is unusual for North Korea to take provocative action when China, its major ally and economic pipeline, is engaging in high-level diplomacy in the region, according to ABC News.

During the trilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese Premier Li Qiang earlier Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called for stern international action if North Korea went ahead with its launch plan, according to ABC News. Earlier in the day on Monday, North Korea had notified Japan’s coast guard about its planned launch with a warning to exercise caution in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and China and east of the main Philippine island of Luzon during a launch window from Monday through June 3.

Per ABC, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said it launched a spy satellite aboard a new rocket at its main northwestern space center, and that the rocket blew up during a first-stage flight soon after liftoff due to a suspected engine problem.

KCNA cited North Korea’s unidentified vice director of the National Aerospace Technology Administration as saying that a preliminary examination showed that the explosion was related to the reliability of operation of the newly developed liquid oxygen-petroleum engine, and that other possible causes will be investigated, according to ABC.

Per ABC News, Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara called the North’s launch “a serious challenge to the entire world.” The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command criticized the launch as a “brazen violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions and said it involved technologies that are directly related to North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile program. South Korea’s Unification Ministry called a satellite launch by the North “a provocation that seriously threatens our and regional security.”

Newsfeed: Monday, June 24, 2024