North Korea admits second satellite launch failure, plans third in October

South Korea, the US, and Japan jointly called on North Korea to immediately reconsider its satellite launch plans, as they contravene pertinent UN Security Council resolutions.

Ji Da-gyum

Ji Da-gyum

The Korea Herald


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (second from right) on a two-day inspection of major munitions factories, while calling for a "rapid" improvement of the country's missile production capabilities. PHOTO: YONHAP/THE KOREA HERALD

August 24, 2023

SEOUL – North Korea admitted an attempt to launch a military reconnaissance satellite into orbit ended in failure Thursday, but the country pledged to conduct another launch in October.

Pyongyang promptly acknowledged the failure of its attempt, as it did after its first unsuccessful endeavor to launch a spy satellite on May 31.

North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration launched the spy satellite Malligyong-1 using the Chollima-1 space launch vehicle, according to North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The launch took place at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the Tongchang-ri area of North Pyongan Province.

The first and second stages of the new satellite launch vehicle Chollima-1 operated successfully. However, during the third stage, an anomaly in the emergency explosive system resulted in a failure, the KCNA said.

The NADA announced its intention to promptly investigate the irregular functioning of the emergency explosive system, provide an explanation, and proceed with a third Chollima-1 launch in October.

The South Korean military also confirmed the launch had failed.

The rocket flew in a southern direction from the Tongchang-ri area, North Pyongan Province at around 3:50 a.m. local time, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed earlier in the day.

It traversed international airspace above waters west of Ieodo, a submerged rock situated within the overlapping exclusive economic zones of South Korea and China.

The launch attempt three months after its first attempt to launch the Chollima-1 space launch vehicle on May 31. In the previous launch, the vehicle carrying the satellite crashed into the waters west of South Korea’s Eocheongdo island in the West Sea shortly after takeoff.

This recent launch follows North Korea’s notification to Japan of a satellite launch plans between Thursday and August 31.

South Korea, the United States, and Japan jointly called on North Korea to immediately reconsider its satellite launch plans, as they contravene UN Security Council resolutions.

Notably, several UN Security Council resolutions explicitly prohibit North Korea from conducting any launches using ballistic missile technology. Space launch vehicles and ballistic missiles often share similar technologies that can be interchangeable. The key difference lies in the payload: Space launch vehicles typically carry satellites, while missiles carry warheads.

Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo have united in their stance, affirming their commitment to address North Korea’s reported satellite launch through a coordinated trilateral approach.

The timing of the launch coincides with the current 11-day joint interagency Ulchi Freedom Shield military exercise involving South Korea and the United States, which is scheduled to continue until the end of August.

“Our military will persist in conducting UFS exercises and training with heightened intensity, all the while upholding a robust combined defense stance,” South Korea’s JCS said.

“Concurrently, the military will maintain a firm readiness posture grounded in our ability to respond overwhelmingly to any provocations from North Korea while keeping close tabs on the various activities undertaken by North Korea.”

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