A North Korean spy satellite explodes in mid-air after launch


North Korea’s attempt to launch a second spy satellite into orbit caught fire shortly after its launch on Monday, the official North Korean news agency confirmed.

Pyongyang’s failed missile launch from its northwestern space hub came around the time of the first trilateral meeting between China, Japan and South Korea in more than four years.

The reclusive country claims to have successfully launched a spy satellite last year.

North Korean officials blamed the setback on an airburst during the first leg of the flight. According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency Which he described as a “reconnaissance satellite.”

A North Korean missile launch as seen during a television program in South Korea. AP

US officials have expressed concerns that North Korea’s satellite launches are just a trick to help it bolster its long-range ballistic missiles.

This failure represents a setback for North Korea’s efforts to conduct surveillance operations against the United States, South Korea and Japan.

Despite international pressure against such launches, North Korea has maintained that it reserves the right to launch satellites into space and test missiles.

South Korea and Japan quickly condemned Pyongyang over the missile launch, with Seoul’s Unification Ministry calling it “a provocation that seriously threatens our security and regional security.”

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara denounced the move, describing it as a “dangerous challenge to the whole world.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has long relied on close relations with China, due to the numerous sanctions imposed on it by the West.

North Korea’s attempt to launch the missile came at a time when China was engaged in sensitive diplomacy in the region. KCNA via KNS/AFP via Getty Images

The attempted launch appeared to be an unusual act of provocation as China sought diplomatic inroads with Japan and South Korea after years of conflict.

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Later on Monday, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman criticized North Korea after Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo confirmed their desire to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

He added, “Hostile actions that violate our inviolable national sovereignty will never be tolerated.” A spokesman for the Korean Central News Agency said.

A press statement published by the government news agency added, “Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula means a power vacuum and an accelerating war.”

Kim Jong Un smiles around the time of the launch of North Korea’s first successful spy satellite last year. KCNA via KNS/AFP via Getty Images

The last such trilateral meeting between China, Japan and South Korea was held in 2019 in Seoul.

The aim of the latest meeting was to help strengthen security cooperation in the region.

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