AFPImage of the launch on South Korean television
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 03:20
North Korea has tried to launch a satellite into space, but a launch error caused the missile to end up in the sea west of the peninsula. This is reported by the North Korean state news agency KCNA. The cause was a failure of the rocket’s second stage, due to instability in the engine and fuel system.
The missile was fired from the Tongchang-ri launch site in the northwest of the country at around 06:30 local time. South Korea says it has found and recovered parts of the missile.
The launch caused great alarm in South Korea and Japan. There, evacuations were organized, which were later withdrawn. In Japan, the warning system was activated in Okinawa Prefecture, an area made up of hundreds of small islands that may have been in the trajectory of the missile. People were urged to take refuge in buildings or underground.
North Korea announced yesterday that it plans to launch its first military spy satellite between May 31 and June 11. With such a satellite, the country wants to be able to keep a closer eye on the United States and its allies.
There are signs that North Korea wants to launch more than one satellite. North Korea’s satellite launch is a violation of UN resolutions. The UN has already imposed economic sanctions on the country several times over previous satellite launches, which are seen as a cover for testing long-range missiles.
North Korea says it is responding to threats from the United States. Incidentally, it is not clear whether the spy satellite would strengthen North Korea’s defenses. It is doubtful whether the satellite is advanced enough to produce high-resolution images. The satellite may be able to detect large troop movements, warships and fighter planes.
In 2019, talks with the US about denuclearization stalled. Since then, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has made frequent public announcements of plans to build advanced weapon systems, such as a multi-warhead missile, a nuclear submarine and a hypersonic missile. According to experts, he is trying to gain a stronger position at the negotiating table and force the US and South Korea to make concessions.