As tensions escalate between the United States and South Korea, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un attempted to launch the country’s first spy satellite into orbit on Wednesday, but the launch failed.
Japan and South Korea issued brief shelter warnings before North Korea’s launches.
North Korea admitted defeat in its effort uncharacteristically and vowed to try again, saying they’ve figured out what went wrong. This indicates that, despite diplomatic efforts, Kim is still intent on bolstering his military capabilities and increasing his pressures on Washington and Seoul.
The South Korean military said they were retrieving an item from the ocean around 200 kilometers (124 miles) west of the southwestern island of Eocheongdo, believing it to be a piece of the downed North Korean rocket. The Defense Ministry later published images of a cylindrical object made of white metal, which it said was a component of the rocket.
The United Nations Security Council has repeatedly passed resolutions condemning any launch by North Korea that uses ballistic technology, including launching a satellite. According to experts, North Korea’s long-range missile capability has improved thanks to the country’s prior launches. Experts believe North Korea still has some work to do to produce functional nuclear weapons, even though its long-range missile tests in recent years have revealed a potential range that could reach all of the continental U.S.
At 6:37 a.m., the newly designed Chollima-1 rocket was launched. After its first and second stages separated, the rocket lost thrust and plummeted into the ocean off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.
The reality of a failed satellite launch would be hard to disguise worldwide, and the government will likely present a different story domestically.
According to a statement released by National Stability Council, the United States strongly condemns the North Korean launch. Previous satellite and ballistic missile launches resulted in economic restrictions from the United Nations, but the organization has been unable to respond to the most recent tests because China and Russia, two permanent council members now at odds with the United States, have resisted attempts to toughen sanctions.