North Korea says its military spy satellite crashed into sea after failed launch

Web Desk
May 31, 2023

The launch raises concerns about potential future provocations and highlights the ongoing tensions in the region

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This handout photo taken on May 31, 2023 and provided by South Korean Defence Ministry in Seoul shows an object presumed to be part of North Korea’s claimed ‘Space Launch Vehicle’ being salvaged by South Korea’s miliaty in waters 200km (124 miles) west of Eocheong Island in the Yellow Sea. AFP.

North Korea launched a military spy satellite named "Malligyong-1" on May 31, but it crashed into the sea shortly after due to an "accident," according to state media.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has prioritised the development of a military spy satellite and personally supervised some launch preparations. The rocket crashed into the sea after the second-stage engine experienced abnormal starting during normal flight. North Korean authorities plan to thoroughly investigate the defects and conduct a second launch as soon as possible.

South Korea's military detected the launch and reported that the satellite disappeared from radar and fell into the sea due to abnormal flight. The launch was strongly criticised by Japan and South Korea, who argued that it would violate UN sanctions prohibiting Pyongyang from conducting tests involving ballistic missile technology. Analysts suggest that North Korea's pursuit of satellite launch capabilities is aimed at providing cover for testing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Following the launch, Seoul city authorities mistakenly issued an emergency text message alert to residents, instructing them to prepare for evacuation. However, the alert was quickly corrected by the interior ministry, saying that it had been incorrectly issued.

The launch of the spy satellite has raised concerns among experts. Soo Kim, a former CIA analyst, believes that this launch could foreshadow greater provocations from North Korea, potentially including a nuclear test. North Korea has previously launched five satellites since 1998, with three failing immediately and two potentially being put into orbit but without independent confirmation.

North Korea has intensified its military development since diplomatic efforts collapsed in 2019. It has conducted numerous banned weapons tests, including the test-firing of multiple ICBMs. Kim Jong Un has declared his country an "irreversible" nuclear power and called for an increase in weapons production.

The launch of the spy satellite is seen as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions by South Korea's foreign ministry.

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