Kopar Khairane

North Korea's first spy satellite launch attempt fails

On Wednesday, North Korea said that its effort to launch the nation's first spy satellite had failed.

North Korea said in a statement broadcast on state media that the spy satellite-carrying rocket lost propulsion after its first and second stages separated and plunged into the seas off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula.

It said that researchers were looking into the reason for the failure.

The North Korean rocket, according to the military of South Korea, had “an abnormal flight” before it crashed into the ocean.

South Korea and Japan reported that North Korea fired a rocket on Wednesday, forcing a temporary evacuation in each of both nations. It looked that the North was trying to send its first military surveillance satellite into space.

According to a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the rocket was launched at about 6.30 am from the northwestern Tongchang-ri region of the North, which is home to the nation's primary space launch facility.

According to the statement, South Korea's military was attempting to determine if the launch was successful. It also said that South Korea has improved its military preparedness in close collaboration with the United States.

Following the launch, Seoul, the capital of South Korea, sent notifications over loudspeakers and via text messages to cellphones instructing inhabitants to be ready to evacuate. However, there were no indications of significant interruption or damage, and Seoul eventually dropped the warning.

The Okinawa prefecture in southwest Japan, which was thought to be in the rocket's course, had its missile warning system activated by the Japanese government.

The message said, “Please evacuate into buildings or underground.” The evacuation orders were eventually withdrawn by the authorities.

North Korea alerted Japan's coast guard on Monday that it intended to launch a satellite between May 31 and June 11, the coast guard said. In the event that any satellite debris penetrated Japanese soil, the defence minister of Japan had ordered his troops to shoot it down.

As ballistic technology is seen as a cover for missile testing, North Korea's satellite launch is a breach of UN Security Council resolutions that forbid the nation from employing it.

In response to what it said were growing security threats from the United States and its allies, Ri Pyong Chol, a senior North Korean official and close ally of leader Kim Jong Un, had stated on Tuesday that North Korea was forced to establish “a reliable reconnaissance and information” system. In June, he said, the North will deploy a spy satellite.

Whether a North Korean spy satellite would considerably enhance its defences was not immediately apparent. The satellite that was made public by the nation's state-run media didn't seem to be technologically advanced enough to provide high-resolution images. However, other analysts point out that it probably still has the ability to identify troop movements and large targets, including warships and aircraft.

However, recent commercial satellite data of North Korea's primary rocket launch facility in the northwest revealed ongoing development projects suggesting that North Korea intends to launch many satellites.

Additionally, Ri added in his address on Tuesday that the nation will be exploring “a variety of reconnaissance means.”

Those surveillance tools, according to him, are responsible for “tracking, monitoring, discriminating, controlling” and reacting, both in advance and in real time, to movements made by the US and its partners.

According to Lee Choon Geun, an honorary research fellow at South Korea's Science and Technology Policy Institute, North Korea might create a space-based surveillance system that enables it to watch the Korean Peninsula in almost real-time with three to five spy satellites.

Kim highlighted the strategic importance a spy satellite may have in North Korea's standoff with the US and South Korea during his visit to the nation's aerospace department earlier this month.

The satellite is one of many cutting-edge weaponry systems that Kim has recently openly promised to deploy. He has also promised to construct nuclear submarines, solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles, multi-warhead missiles, and hypersonic missiles.

Since the beginning of 2019, negotiations with the US to denuclearize have halted. In the meanwhile, Kim has concentrated on boosting his nuclear and missile arsenals in an effort to get concessions from Washington and Seoul, according to analysts. More than 100 missile tests including nuclear-capable missiles targeting the US mainland, South Korea, and Japan have been carried out by North Korea since the start of 2022.

North Korea claims that its nuclear and missile tests are acts of self-defense in response to increased military exercises between Washington and Seoul, which it perceives as invasion preparations. Officials from the US and South Korea claim that their exercises are defensive in nature and have been strengthened in response to North Korea's increasing nuclear threats.

In response to North Korea's earlier satellite launches, which the UN considers as a cover for long-range missile testing, it placed economic penalties on the country. Attempts to impose tougher penalties in response to Pyongyang's most recent ballistic missile tests have already been thwarted by China and Russia, permanent members of the UN council who are now engaged in conflicts with the US.

Both South Korea and Japan said such a move would jeopardise regional stability before Tuesday's launch. The foreign ministry of South Korea issued a warning that North Korea will suffer the consequences.

North Korea launched its first satellite into orbit in 2012 and its second one in 2016 after a string of failures. Although the government claimed that both were launched as part of its agenda for the peaceful development of space, many international specialists thought that both had really been designed to spy on competitors.

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