North Korea’s second attempt to launch a spy satellite into orbit failed Thursday due to a defect in the third stage of the rocket, North Korea’s state news agency KCNA reported.
The failed launch followed the failure of North Korea’s first attempt in May, when a new spacecraft rocket, Chollima-1, crashed into the sea shortly after launch.
KCNA said Pyongyang would attempt another missile launch in October.
The report said that the last launch at dawn on Thursday “failed due to an error in the emergency detonation system during the third stage flight.”
Japanese Parliamentary Deputy Defense Minister Kimi Onoda said the missile broke into multiple parts before it fell into the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean in the early hours of Thursday.
After the wreckage was recovered, the South Korean military said the design of the latest satellite was too primitive to perform its function, even if it was launched successfully.
The launch prompted Japan to issue an emergency appeal for residents of the southern Okinawa region to evacuate. An eviction appeal has since been filed.
Japan said North Korea sent an email on Tuesday saying it plans to launch a satellite into the Yellow and East China Seas between August 24 and 31, in an area outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
After that email, the Japan Coast Guard issued a navigational warning for the area and called on ships to beware of falling objects.
Japan, South Korea and the United States condemned the launch.
At a press conference Thursday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Japan “strongly protests” North Korea’s latest launch and “condemns it in the strongest terms,” adding that the launch used ballistic missile technology.
Matsuno called the launch “a serious matter in violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution banning any launch using ballistic missile technology by North Korea.”
He said the Japanese government has called an emergency meeting and is gathering and analyzing launch details, which will be shared with the public as soon as they become available.
Matsuno added that there were no reports of damage to ships or aircraft so far.
South Korea’s National Security Council also condemned the launch, which it called a “serious violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution.”
The NSC deplored North Korea for “driving its people to starvation and death by wasting what few resources it has on reckless provocations.”
At a Thursday morning meeting, members of the National Security Council pledged to strengthen cooperation with the United States and Japan to prevent North Korea’s illegal activities such as exploitation of North Korean workers abroad, cyber hacking and smuggling at sea.
South Korean President Yoon Sok-yul received a report on the NSC’s discussions and ordered the NSC to share the results of the analysis Thursday with the United States and Japan, and “prepare for additional provocations by North Korea,” according to a statement from the country’s presidential office.
The US National Security Council condemned the missile launch as a “flagrant violation” of several United Nations Security Council resolutions, saying it “raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond.”
“This space launch included technologies directly related to the DPRK’s ICBM program,” council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson wrote in a statement several hours after the launch.
“The President’s national security team is assessing the situation in close coordination with our allies and partners. We urge all nations to condemn this launch and call on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to come to the table for serious negotiations.
The launch comes days after US President Joe Biden met the leaders of Japan and South Korea at Camp David. During the summit, the three leaders pledged closer cooperation to guard against nuclear threats from North Korea, and urged Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programmes.
It is expected that North Korea will celebrate the founding of the seventy-fifth in the ninth of September with a military parade.
Had the launch been successful, it would have been a timely boost for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.