North Korea fails to launch second 'spy satellite'

Japan, US and South Korea have condemned the attempted firing of what they called a ballistic missile

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un shown on a television screen at Seoul Railway Station on Thursday. Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

North Korea's second attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit has ended in failure, state media said on Thursday, just months after Pyongyang's first satellite crashed into the ocean.

The Malligyong-1 "reconnaissance" satellite was launched early on Thursday, Pyongyang's National Aerospace Development Administration said, adding that the launch had ended in failure due to an error in the emergency blasting system.

South Korea said it had detected the launch and added that the object had flown over the Yellow Sea before entering international waters.

Japan, the US, and South Korea have strongly condemned the launch, which they said was a ballistic missile disguised as a satellite.

The trio will also consider unilateral sanctions in light of the move, Seoul's foreign ministry said.

Last week a summit was held between leaders from Tokyo, Washington and Seoul, where the three nations signed a security pact including annual military exercises, a hotline for crisis communications, and closer cooperation on ballistic missiles.

Real-time data will be used to track North Korean missiles in a mechanism to be launched by the end of 2024, leaders said.

Seoul condemned the latest launches in a Thursday meeting of the National Security Council, saying its neighbour is "squandering scarce resources on reckless provocations while blaming lower officials for the economic situation that is driving its people to starvation and death."

Monday marked the start of major joint US-South Korean military drills, held annually, which often irk Pyongyang.

North Korea has stepped up its own military activity in recent months, with leader Kim Jong-Un recently instructing military commanders to prepare "offensively" for war after replacing one of his top generals.

Four days later, he called for a "drastic" increase in arms production.

Pyongyang has vowed to conduct a third satellite launch in October, describing Thursday's failure as "not a big issue."

AFP contributed to this report.

Updated: August 24, 2023, 6:42 AM