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North Korea satellite launch fails due to suspected engine problem

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A projectile launched from the direction of Tongchang-ri, North Korea, which exploded mid-flight.

SEOUL/WASHINGTON – North Korea launched the Malligyong-1-1, a military reconnaissance satellite, on Monday, but the rocket’s first stage exploded mid-flight due to a problem with the newly developed engine, the North’s Korean Central News Agency reported -Korea. .

According to the report, the National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA) in Pyongyang had loaded the satellite onto a new type of satellite launch vehicle and launched it from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, northwestern North Korea.

The Japanese government announced Monday that North Korea had launched a projectile using ballistic missile technology from near Tongchang-ri at around 10:43 p.m. and that it disappeared over the Yellow Sea.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said numerous debris had been discovered over the Yellow Sea near the North Korean coast around 10:46 pm on Monday, and the satellite had been blown up in mid-air.

NATA said engine failure is the current suspected cause of the explosion, but also said: “Other possible causes of the problem will also be investigated.”

This is North Korea’s fourth attempted launch of a military reconnaissance satellite, and the first since Malligyong-1 in November. It also marks the third failure after previous launches on May 31 and August 24 last year.

North Korea had previously announced its intention to launch three military reconnaissance satellites by the end of the year, with Monday’s launch being the first. Experts pointed out that it will take several months to resolve the problems caused by the explosion, and that this may affect the project.

“We recognize that [North Korea] tried to launch a satellite but failed,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said at a news conference Monday morning. “This launch included, [North Korea’s] The development of nuclear weapons and missiles violates the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.” The Japanese government has lodged a protest with North Korea through its embassy in Beijing.

Regarding North Korea’s intention to launch three satellites by the end of the year, Hayashi said, “there is a possibility that North Korea will continue to pursue satellite launches. We will continue to collect and analyze information in cooperation with the United States, South Korea and other countries, and do our best to monitor the situation.”

The South Korean government said in a statement: “Regardless of whether the satellite launch is a success or a failure, it is a violation of the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and an act of provocation that threatens international peace and threatens safety.”

The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the launch “increases tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond…the US commitment to the defense of the homeland and the defense of [South Korea] and Japan remains rock solid.”



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