North Korea’s first spy satellite launch ended in failure after its second stage malfunctioned, sparking emergency warnings in Japan and South Korea.
South Korea’s military detected a rocket launch from North Korea at 6.29am and was salvaging an object it believed was linked to the launch. It was analyzing whether the rocket and its payload broke up in mid-air or crashed.
North Korea on Tuesday confirmed it planned to launch a satellite before 11 June, which the US “strongly condemned”, saying it “risks destabilising the security situation in the region and beyond”.
Tokyo and Seoul strongly criticised Pyongyang’s proposed launch, saying it would violate UN sanctions.
Seoul city authorities sent an emergency text message alert to residents soon after the launch, but later said the alert had been “incorrectly issued”.
Kim stayed true to his word and launched the spy satellite today, but the launch involves ballistic missile technology.
Experts say North Korea has launched five satellites, three of which failed immediately and two of which appeared to have been put into orbit, but signals from them have never been independently detected, indicating they may have malfunctioned.
Pyongyang told Japan it would launch a rocket between 31 May and 11 June, but typically does not give advanced warning of missile launches.
North Korea has doubled down on military development since diplomatic efforts collapsed in 2019, including test-firing multiple ICBMs. It has also developed military satellites, and this month inspected its first military spy satellite as it was prepared for launch.
South Korea’s foreign ministry condemned the launch plan and said North Korea would pay a price if it went ahead.